31 December 2010
By Clive Whittingham
Hundreds of children at 40 nurseries and schools are to benefit from a new scheme to improve dental health among children in the north of the county.
The Smile Squad will visit the schools and nurseries in the Kettering area to deliver fun presentations and education about caring for teeth over the next three years.
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The £67,000 scheme funded by the Department of Health will see children receive a free check up at school and be offered a coating of fluoride varnish for their teeth.
If the scheme is a success it will be expanded to other areas.
A similar project has already been a success in Northampton.
Julie Barker, senior nursery nurse at Acorns Day Nursery in Burton Latimer, which is one of 40 nurseries and schools being invited to take part in the pilot, said: "Anything that makes dental care more exciting for children is worth a go.
"Brushing your teeth is something we have all got to do and by making
it fun for the children that will help them get into good habits which is fantastic.
"For many children at nursery whose parents are working and perhaps can't take them to the dentist without taking a day off themselves this will make it simpler and easier for them.
"Bringing things back into the nursery takes the pressure off parents, and it stops the children seeing the dentist as a big scary place."
The sessions will be provided by Northfields Dental Practice in Kettering which has won a three-year contract from the NHS.
Shalin Mehra, managing director of Rodericks Dental which owns the practice, said: "We will be visiting a number of nurseries and schools that have nursery classes, talking to them about dental care.
"We aim to improve the oral health of children in nurseries and are looking forward to working with parents, the nurseries and the PCT to ensure that we deliver a service that is needed, wanted and that everybody will be proud of.
"We will be contacting the identified nurseries and schools in the New Year to begin booking the sessions."
Children will be given a brief check-up during the visits and offered an appointment for treatment if they don't have a regular dentist.
spokesman for NHS Northamptonshire said: "Fluoride varnish can reduce the incidence of tooth decay by up to 30 per cent and NHS
Northamptonshire would encourage all parents and carers of children who are offered this service to participate."