As the academic year begins, young children in the borough of Rochdale will have access to more oral hygiene services than ever before.
We and the NHS provide interventions which ensure that children are getting the correct dental care and advice throughout the school year.
A new service, provided by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, teaches children aged 2 to 5 how to brush their teeth correctly. Children will be sent home with a letter asking for parental consent to take part in activities which teach children good toothbrushing techniques.
Like adults, children should visit the dentist at least once a year and should be cleaning their teeth twice a day all year round.
Packs to aid toothbrushing at home are given to children aged 4 and under who go to nursery or school. These packs are delivered by Living Well, our healthy lifestyles provider, and give families helpful advice and information about oral hygiene to help them to look after children's teeth.
Fluoride varnishing is routinely carried out twice a year on children over 3-years-old during dental appointments. The process applies a protective layer on children's teeth which, in addition to tooth brushing, reduces tooth decay by 35 per cent.
For children aged 3 to 5 who haven't visited the dentist in 12 months, Pennine Care can carry out fluoride varnishing at nursery or school. Parents will be sent a form to complete to see if their child is eligible and to get their permission to apply the varnish. Parents and grandparents should ask their dentist about fluoride varnishing.
Councillor Sara Rowbotham, our Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "Improving the health of Rochdale's young children is a key priority for us and oral hygiene plays an important role in that.
"Almost half of our 5 year olds start school with dental decay so we ask that parents allow their children to access all the services available and remember the importance of taking children to the dentist once a year.
"Tackling unhealthy habits is a crucial preventative measure to protect our young children against poor dental health and weight gain so we continue to prioritise working with schools to implement healthy lifestyles initiatives to ensure children grow up to be healthy adults."
Anyone with young children or grandchildren should keep an eye out for forms coming home in their bags from school or nursery to keep up to date with oral hygiene activities.