Thursday 06 April 2023
Guernsey's Children's Dental Service is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its SuperSmiles programme.
Since it was started in 2013, following the award of a £2,000 bursary to establish the programme in some Bailiwick preschools, 2,300 children have benefitted from it. SuperSmiles promotes the value of good dental health to preschool age children and their parents, and also helps encourage parents to take their children to the dentist regularly.
In September 2017 the scheme was extended and offered to all preschool and day nursery settings in the Bailiwick for children in their preschool year, and now it runs from 28 local settings.
Ruth Sharp, Head of the States Early Years Team, said:
"The aim of the programme is to offer daily supervised toothbrushing to pre-school children, guaranteeing at least one exposure to fluoride toothpaste in addition to the recommended twice daily brushing at home. Research from similar strategies in the UK has found that by being engaged in schemes like this there is an increase in the number of children seeking regular dental check-ups and subsequent treatment for decay.
"In addition to highlighting the importance of maintaining a healthy mouth, the programme has helped to develop the links between other Early Year's Education and Health & Social Care Partners. It supports the Health and Self Care aspect of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework."
Following on from the recent Dental Survey on reception children in the island (2021/2022), it was noted that 11.2% of children were seen with evidence of having dental decay, when in previous years it had been up to 19% (2011). This survey is completed every five years.
From 2013 to 2017, the Children's Dental Service undertook around 450 general anaesthetics for children with the most severe levels of dental decay. This is in addition to completing approximately 9,600 extractions or fillings. Dental decay is the most common cause of dental anaesthetics for children in England.
Representatives from some of the early years settings signed up to the SuperSmiles programme