Children have good reasons to smile

Good news for kids going to the dentist
Good news for kids going to the dentist

It’s smiles all the way for children in Greater Glasgow and Clyde as tooth extractions have decreased dramatically over the past 15 years.

Official figures show that tooth extractions have dropped by more than 52 per cent since the start of the century and that’s something to smile about.

In 2000-2001, there were 26,355 teeth removed from the mouths of children in the NHSGGC area, dropping to 12,516 by 2015-2016 which is the biggest percentage drop of any health board area in Scotland.

Children have teeth pulled out for a number of reasons including trauma to the mouth or for orthodontic reasons and these figures show the success of initiatives aimed at reducing levels of tooth decay.

Karen Murray, NHSGGC’s lead for Oral Health said: “These figures are hugely encouraging and great news for children throughout Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Teeth extractions can be very traumatic for children, so any reduction – and this is a dramatic one – needs to be applauded.”

Back in 2005 the Scottish Dental National Action Plan identified high levels of tooth decay and inequalities in child oral health and this led to the introduction of the Childsmile Programme in 2011.

The principles of Childsmile in schools, nurseries and primary care dental services means every child has access to free, daily, supervised toothbrushing in nursery and dental packs to support toothbrushing at home. In areas of highest need there is also a fluoride varnish programme to give teeth added protection.

In the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area toothbrushing is part of the normal day for primary children.

Karen added: “We will continue to work towards addressing known issues of oral health inequalities and improving child dental health for all children throughout our area.”