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Townhill tots learning all about how to brush their teeth properly

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: March 21, 2013

By Helen Keates

healthy smiles  Lily Mason with Campbell Simpson and Max Brown learning about the importance of cleaning their teeth at the Phoenix Centre nursery in Townhill.     SWAH20130319B-001_C

healthy smiles Lily Mason with Campbell Simpson and Max Brown learning about the importance of cleaning their teeth at the Phoenix Centre nursery in Townhill. SWAH20130319B-001_C

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TOWNHILL children are looking to a brighter, whiter future thanks to a few well- spent minutes every day.

Youngsters from the nursery at the Phoenix Centre have been learning all about dental hygiene.

For over a year, in nursery, they have been brushing their teeth every afternoon after lunch.

It is one of numerous schools and nurseries helping children look after their teeth from a young age.

Nursery nurse Kelly Hocking said: "Most of the children really enjoy it and from what I gather they do it in the house because they are used to it.

"We have been doing it for over a year and it is definitely making a difference.

"Parents have to fill out a consent form, and I think all of them have.

"The children brush their teeth once a day after lunch — even the little ones. We help but most of them can do it themselves."

It is part of the Welsh Government's Designed to Smile scheme, which was launched at the Paradise Nursery in the Phoenix Centre.

The project is aimed at helping children brush their teeth properly and showing them the right toothbrush and toothpaste to use.

It is all about giving them the right tools to take into later life and getting them into the habit of brushing their teeth as early as possible.

Decay

Earlier this week the Welsh Government launched its National Oral Health Plan, which coincided with the release of a study by the Welsh Oral Health Information Unit on tooth decay in five-year- olds.

It showed that children's teeth were getting better in Swansea and Carmarthenshire.

They were two out of only four counties in Wales which showed 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.

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.

Speaking about the current Designed to Smile programme in place in Townhill, Ms Hocking said: "We had really positive feedback from parents when they were filling out the consent forms."

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