Starting Well: A Smile4Life Initiative

Last year NHS England launched Starting Well: A Smile4Life Initiative. This programme of dental practice-based initiatives aims to improve oral health in children under the age of five years. Luton was chosen as one of 13 high priority areas to be part of the national Starting Well initiative, due to the high levels of dental decay experienced in Luton children. 37.6% of 5 year olds in Luton have dental decay (which is significantly higher than the national average).

Tooth decay causes pain and discomfort and can have a significant impact on health and well-being. Tooth decay is preventable and dental practises are working with families to raise awareness of the importance of looking after baby teeth and overcoming barriers to visiting a dentist, which is recommended by one year of age.

The aim of the programme is to increase the focus of practises on preventative work, strengthening relationships with the local communities and taking preventative oral health work to community based settings. Seven dental practises in Luton are part of the scheme and have been working with Early Years settings in areas with the highest levels of dental decay which includes Biscot, Challney, Dallow, Farley and Saints.

Dental practises offer a range of oral health activities and resources for children and families and can visit settings or arrange class trips to visit the dental practises. If you work in a setting within one of the 5 wards listed and are interested in support from dental practises please contact Louise.morrissey@eyalliance.org.uk

For a list of dental practises to refer families to visit https://www.flyingstartluton.com/parent/additional-services/oral-health/

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