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Tooth decay falling among Swansea and Carmarthenshire children, but rising in Neath Port Talbot

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: March 19, 2013

By Helen Keates

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CHILDRENS' teeth are getting better in Swansea and Carmarthenshire.

They are two out of only four counties in Wales to have shown statistically significant changes, according to a new report.

Carmarthenshire's improvement was considerable, with the average five-year-old having 0.97 decayed, missing and filled teeth in 2011/12, compared with 2.27 in 2007/08. In Swansea that number fell from 2.24 to 1.47 in the same period.

However, in Neath Port Talbot the picture was not so positive with the average going from 2.14 in 2007/08 to 2.2 in 20011/12.

The same day the figure was released, Wales's chief dental officer, David Thomas, launched the Welsh Government's National Oral Health Plan.

He said: "A dental survey of 5-year-olds published by the Welsh Oral Health Information Unit confirms just over 41 per cent of children in Wales currently experience dental decay and while this figure is still too high, it represents a decrease of 6 per cent since 2007/08.

"The data also shows for the first time there is no evidence of widening inequalities, and dental disease levels in children are improving across all social groups in Wales.

"The National Oral Health Plan looks to the future and outlines an agenda for improving oral health, reducing oral health inequalities in Wales over the next five years and beyond."

Prevention of tooth decay is at the centre of the five-year plan and integral to it is the current Designed to Smile scheme which helps to instil in children good dental hygiene for life.

Local Health Boards will also need their own area-specific schemes as part of the plan.

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