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News

Cardiff Dental researchers tackle child tooth decay

Cardiff University : 01 September, 2006  (Technical Article)
Researchers in Cardiff University
The research is being undertaken in nurseries and primary schools in Cardiff and hopes to identify barriers to and opportunities for oral health promotion amongst young children.

'Although the oral health of older children in Wales has improved over the last 20 years, dental decay in young children remains a significant problem. More than half of all children have tooth decay, severe enough to require either a filling or an extraction before they start school, and the problem is greatest in areas of social and economic disadvantage,' said Dr Ivor Chestnutt, Reader in Dental Public Health who is leading the research.

Working with partners from Cardiff and Vale NHS Trustís Community Dental Service and Cardiff schools, the research is designed to identify how a holistic approach to the health and well-being of children can be developed to include practices leading to good oral health.

The project will also identify how nursery and school nutrition policies impact on both oral and general health and how other oral health promotion activities, such as toothbrushing programmes, can be targeted at those children at greatest risk of oral disease.

'Too frequently, young childrenís first experience of dental care is when they are brought to the dentist having been awake all night with toothache. There is often little alternative but to administer a general anaesthetic and extract decayed teeth. a horrendous introduction to dentistry.

'This project will enable us to identify how factors such as snack and drink policies can be modified to impact positively on health and how Health and Education sectors can work together to improve the oral health of those children in Cardiff who are still suffering unacceptably, from what is a preventable disease,' added Dr Chestnutt.
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