The charity chief was speaking after new research identified tooth decay as by far the biggest reason why primary school children are admitted to hospital. Almost 26,000 children in England aged between 5 and 9 have been hospitalised to have multiple tooth extractions in 2013-14 — the equivalent of nearly 500 a week.
Miss Jackson, speaking from the Stockport HQ of the national charity, said Action for Sick Children’s Dental Playbox Project, had been successfully teaching youngsters the basics of good dental health in recent years.
Their specially trained staff go into schools/nurseries equipped with children’s tooth brushes and child-friendly Playbox characters to teach youngsters the basics of good dental hygiene through play.
“We know the Dental Playbox is an effective means of educating children in the importance of good dental hygiene including the importance of Healthy Eating. Our staff regularly follow up their play sessions and believe that the majority of children continue to brush their teeth which is a major achievement.”
However Miss Jackson said the Dental Playbox Project was currently only operating in the North West of England.
“Obviously we don’t have the funds to make this a national project but if we could identify some suitable partners it may be possible to bring the benefits of this project to a national audience.
“These latest figures on child dental health are scandalous so I would be delighted to talk to anybody who would like to work with Action for Sick Children in bringing the Dental Playbox to the country as a whole.”
Dental leaders have described the new child dental health figures as ‘shocking’
Kathryn Harley, a consultant in paediatric dentistry, said: “We have children who require all 20 of their baby teeth to be extracted. It beggars belief that their diets could produce such a drastic effect.”
Graham Barnby, honorary vice-president of the British Dental Health Foundation, said: “It all relates to the consumption of sugary, fizzy drinks.”
For further information about the Dental Playbox click onto: www.actionforsickchildren.org.uk