Pupils across Tyne & Wear were all smiles recently as a team from mydentist toured the area to teach 750 children about maintaining a happy, healthy mouth.
The aim of the visits was to help make children familiar with the sights and sounds of a dentist’s surgery and handle some of the equipment they might see on a check-up.
The youngsters at 10 nurseries, primary schools and Rainbows and Boys Brigade groups also learned more about how they should brush, choose the food and drinks that are good for their teeth, and what they should avoid.
The number of children admitted to hospital in the UK for extractions annually now stands at almost 43,000, a number that has increased by almost 20% in four years.
It is hoped that by giving children more information they will be able to make the best possible choices for their own dental health. This is the second such tour of the area mydentist has completed, meaning that in total more than 2,000 children have learned more about taking care of their teeth.
Paul Mead, area manager for mydentist in Tyne and Wear, said: “According to statistics, and despite treatment being free for children, only around 58% of children in England saw an NHS dentist in the last year. It’s worrying that so many are being admitted to hospital for dental issues which, in many cases, are preventable.
“Our aim is to help change this by giving children information to make the right choices, feel comfortable with going to the dentist, and raise awareness of the NHS dental care which is available. That includes fluoride varnish, which is applied twice a year from the age of three.
“The reaction from children and their parents has been incredibly positive. After we visit a school we usually see an instant increase in children attending for check-ups which means we can help continue our education of kids and prevent future problems.”
During each visit the children got tips for looking after their teeth such as drinking sugary drinks through a straw to reduce the contact with teeth. They also received a goody bag packed with information about dental health.
For more information on the free dental care available to children visit our Kids Club section
 NHS spending data by the Local Government Association (LGA)
 NHS Dental Statistics, England: 2016-17