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Dental experts say tooth decay in Welsh children is ‘still too high’

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Although there has been a drop in the number of children in Wales who have problems with their teeth, dental health experts are adamant that tooth decay is still a huge cause for concern.

A recent survey revealed that 41% of children aged five and under experienced dental decay at some stage during the period 2011-12, which represents a 6% decrease from 2007-08. Despite this improvement, chief dental officer David Thomas said that the levels of decay were ‘still too high’ and he has launched a five year plan to improve oral health in Cardiff, saying ‘Prevention is at the core of the plan. This is one of our major goals, together with the need to raise awareness of people’s responsibility in taking care of their own oral health.’

The National Oral Health Plan found that over 9,600 children underwent a tooth extraction from 2010-11, with the use of general anaesthetic – a number that was found to be ‘unacceptable for what is an almost totally preventable disease.’ A spokesperson went on to add that ‘this was one reason for the launch of Designed to Smile in 2008 and why we will continue to support the programme.’ Designed to Smile teaches children how to look after their teeth properly and explains the benefits of using fluoride toothpaste when brushing – which helps prevent decay.

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