Big goals on the way to tackle tooth decay

Published Tuesday 17 May 2022 at 13:00

A new oral health strategy has been launched in Blackburn with Darwen to help boost children’s teeth health in the borough.

The plans were launched by Blackburn with Darwen’s Public Health team at Ewood Park with help from local children, partners and a special appearance from Rover the Dog who gave his teeth a brush.

There was also a special video message from Blackburn Rovers defender Ryan Nyambe, who announced the winners of a poster competition for primary school children in the borough. The winners, from The Olive School, Lammack Primary School and St Silas CE Primary School then had their posters specially printed and presented to them by Rover the Dog.

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Blackburn Rovers defender Ryan Nyambe with the winning posters

The winners will have their designs featured all over Blackburn with Darwen’s bus shelters, billboards and digital screens as part of a big campaign to raise awareness of good dental health.

There was also a performance from actor Gayle Knight of the book ‘Max’s Not So Sweet Dream’ which has been given to every primary school in the borough. Food Active commissioned the book which is a short story following a young boy on his quest for sugary food.

The Oral Health Strategy 2021-26 is part of ambitious plans over the next few years to improve oral health in young children and vulnerable people and crack down on high rates of tooth decay in the borough.

Blackburn with Darwen had the highest proportion of five year olds experiencing decay in England in 2018/19, with 51% of our five year olds having at least one decayed missing or filled teeth (DMFT). However, we are already making big steps towards better oral health, with our rates already down to 42% following a full survey in 2021

Good oral health has an important role in positive general health and wellbeing for children, vulnerable adults and the elderly.

Runners Up Huzaifah and Aaminah examine a healthy set of teeth at the event

Partnerships reaching across schools, healthcare, dental services, young people’s services, the community, voluntary and faith sector (CVF) and Public Health have been brought together to tackle the higher rates and make sure children, parents and carers are aware of the importance of teeth brushing and consuming less sugar to protect your teeth.

Public Health, along with Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, dental care provider AP Smilecare and Blackburn with Darwen Healthy Living, are already involved in a wide range of activities and initiatives across the borough.

These include:

  • GULP – Give Up Loving Pop – where fantastic teams from Blackburn Rovers Community Trust visit our schools to teach children all about the risks of sugary drinks and the best ways to keep your teeth healthy.
  • We now have supervised brushing in nursery and reception classes, where they provide the toothbushes and toothpaste, and train teachers how to get our children used to regularly brushing their teeth.
  • There has been an oral health pilot running in one Madrassah to help parents and children learn more about healthy teeth and better oral health.
  • We are Lancashire’s first Sugar Smart Town, which means we are supporting schools, hospitals, businesses and other organisations to serve or sell healthier food and drink to improve people’s dental health and health overall.
  • Bangor Street Community Centre is also holding peer support sessions, funded by public health,where mums, dads and carers can come and talk to people in their community about teeth brushing and good choices.

Councillor Julie Gunn, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, and the chair of the Oral Health Strategy Group, said:

There is work to be done if we want to really tackle this issue and make sure all children in the borough have healthy teeth and good oral health.

We have all been working really hard to improve this since 2018 when our rates were labelled as the highest, and we are making some big strides, thanks to our Public Health teams and all our partners.

There are some fantastic activities and initiatives happening all over the borough and I want to thank all our partners for working so hard in our goal to bring the levels of tooth decay right down. We are getting more information to our children, parents and carers about tooth brushing, cutting down on sugary food and drink and good oral health overall, which will hopefully help to cut tooth decay.”

You can read the strategy and find out more about the plans at:


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