New clubs will help Barnsley children have healthier smiles

Primary schools and other early years setting are being asked to help us join the fight against tooth decay in Barnsley children.

Our children’s public health team are offering primary schools and early years settings such as family Hubs and childcare locations funded supervised toothbrushing clubs, to help form good oral health habits from an early age.

Nationally, there has been a 17 percent increase in the number of episodes of decay-related tooth extractions in hospital for 0- to 19-year-olds compared to the previous financial year of 2021 to 2022. This increase is likely to reflect a continuing recovery of hospital services following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Yorkshire and Humber region has some of the highest decay-related tooth extraction rates in the country, at 405 per 100,000 population of 0- to 19-year-olds. The England rate is 236 per 100,000 population of 0- to 19-year-olds.

We want to make tooth brushing part of young children’s daily routines, to help prevent tooth decay.

Staff will be supported with training and a toolkit to set clubs up. They will then commit to having a designated supervisor who will fill in a checklist each term, to make sure things are running smoothly.  

Parents will be asked to give consent for their child to take part in the clubs.

Cllr Wendy Cain, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health and Communities, said: “A healthy mouth and smile mean we can eat, speak and socialise without pain and discomfort. However, almost 30 percent of five-year-olds in Barnsley have tooth decay. Poor oral health can lead to pain and infection, resulting in sleepless nights, difficulty eating and time off nursery or school.

“Tooth decay is preventable, and the supervised toothbrushing clubs will be effective in reducing tooth decay, by complementing toothbrushing at home.”

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