Mobile dental fleet launched in Wales
The first national oral health improvement programme aimed at young children in Wales is to be rolled out with the help of a fleet of mobile dental units.
Health Minister Edwina Hart announced the Designed to Smile/Cynllun Gwên programme last year.
The programme, which has already been run on a limited basis, will now be rolled out through two super pilots in North and South Wales.
The scheme will see a team of dental health support workers providing toothbrushes and toothpaste to schoolchildren along with oral health advice.
Part of this service will be delivered via mobile dental health units that will play a key role in providing specialist preventive care and treatment to schools.
Children in nursery, reception and year one classes in schools across areas of greatest oral health need will be visited by the dental fleet. More than 300 schools are expected to benefit from the scheme during their rollout over the next three years.
Welsh children have the worst rates of tooth decay in the UK.
On average, a five year old in Wales has between two and three decayed, missing or filled teeth, compared to less than two in Great Britain as a whole.
The First Minister will unveil the new fleet at the University Hospital of Wales Dental School before opening the new facilities at the postgraduate school of dentistry.
Stuart Geddes, BDA Director for Wales, said:’There is clearly much work to be done to improve the oral health of Wales’ children and this fleet of mobile dental units is a good way of taking oral health education messages to those who might not normally receive them. One of the key messages to get through is the importance of visiting a dentist regularly.’