Toothbrushing classes set for schools in Essex and Suffolk

Toothbrushing classes set for schools in Essex and Sussex

Supervised toothbrushing in schools has been put forward as part of a package to improve early years’ oral health.

Under the new plans, children aged two to eight across Essex and Suffolk will have access to supervised brushing in early years and school settings.

The Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board – which are responsible for commissioning NHS services – discussed the plans on Tuesday this week.

The health directors in the two counties suggested the grants will be given on 31 March 2023.

The suggested package proposes handing over £966,514 to Suffolk County Council. This includes:

  • More Keep Suffolk Smiling Packs, which target vulnerable and isolated communities
  • Expansion of the supervised toothbrushing schemes
  • Dental varnishing programmes in the community – including the hiring of two community nurses.

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This comes as a campaign group continues its push for improved NHS dental services.

Toothless in England was launched in 2021 after the last NHS dental practice in the town of Leiston closed its doors.

Now, it is encouraging people to share their stories ahead of a government inquiry, where it will submit evidence.

The Health and Social Care Committee launched the new inquiry into NHS dentistry in December, and will assess to what extent the NHS dental contract ‘disincentivises dentists from taking on new patients’.

In addition, the inquiry will explore the possible impact of new changes arriving in April 2023. These include making new Integrated Care Systems and Integrated Care Boards responsible for the provision of dental services.

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