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Baby Teeth DO Matter – Children’s Dental Health Campaign

The official launch of ‘Baby Teeth DO Matter’ is taking place in the foyer of Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil  on Monday, April 10th at 10am.

Bring your child along to meet our mascot and talk to the team about dental care for your child.

Cwm Taf University Health Board is making it a priority to:

  • increase the number of children who visit a dentist for routine dental check ups
  • reduce the levels of dental decay in our children
  • reduce the number of children being admitted to hospital to have their teeth extracted under general anaesthetic.

 Dental surveys are carried out to assess the oral health of children when they are 3, 5 and 12 years of age.  The latest survey shows that the oral health of 5 year-old children in Wales has significantly improved and dental decay has reduced by 12% since 2008.

However when we look at the data for Cwm Taf children, even though there has been a very slight improvement, 5 year-old children in Cwm Taf have the highest dental decay rates in Wales with –

  • 6% of children living in Merthyr Tydfil and
  • 43% of children living in Rhondda Cynon Taf having dental decay.

Another concerning statistic is that 60% of Cwm Taf children under 5 years of age haven’t visited a dentist and almost 80% of children under 2 years of age haven’t visited a dentist yet.

Tooth decay remains the most common reason for young children to go into hospital. In Wales almost 8,000 children had to be admitted to hospital to have teeth extracted under general anaesthetic (over 1,200 Cwm Taf children)

So we are making it a priority to improve the oral health of our children and one of the initiatives we are launching is ‘Baby Teeth DO Matter’.

Many people think that baby teeth don’t matter because the teeth are going to fall out anyway and be replaced with a 2nd set but they do matter. Baby teeth are very important to a child’s health and development. When baby teeth are lost too early then the guide for the permanent teeth is lost and the space available for the 2nd teeth can be reduced. This can make permanent teeth crooked or crowded. Having poor oral health can affect children’s ability to eat, sleep, speak, can lead to pain and infection and being admitted to hospital for general anaesthetic.

So the campaign we are launching ‘Baby Teeth DO Matter’ is to raise awareness throughout Cwm Taf of the importance of adopting healthy dental habits early to prevent tooth decay. We want to inform parents and involve the community in improving their own health and well-being.

Tooth decay can be prevented and the key messages are

  • Children should start brushing their teeth as soon as they get their first tooth
  • Brush teeth twice every day with fluoride toothpaste
  • The whole family should have regular dental check ups
  • Reduce the amount of sugary foods and drinks

The team will also be in Keir Hardie University Health Park, Merthyr Tydfil on Monday and will be visiting other hospital sites over the coming weeks.