‘National Smile Month’ is underway and Somerset County Council is joining the national campaign for better oral health after new figures reveal almost one fifth of Somerset’s five-year olds (19%) have decayed, missing or filled teeth.

Somerset County Council says it is committed to seeing this figure decrease and improved oral health for everyone across Somerset.

This month the Council is therefore supporting the UK’s longest running oral health campaign, National Smile Month, which runs from 13th May until 13th June.

Oral diseases can cause pain and discomfort, sleepless nights, loss of self-esteem and in turn disrupt family life, leading to time off school and work. Risk factors, such as taking regular medications or having old fillings, increase the risk of dental disease.

Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council said: “Maintaining good oral Health is an important part of everyone’s overall health and wellbeing. As part of giving every child the best start in life, it’s important babies teeth are brushed as soon as the first erupts with a fluoride toothpaste, instilling positive oral health habits to last a lifetime. These habits will reduce the risk of preventable tooth decay and tooth extraction in future.”

“The good news is, poor oral health is largely preventable and at any age, you can change your lifestyle in terms of tooth cleaning or dietary habits and this, along with regular visits to the dentists, can help to achieve better outcomes in health.”

The council says everyone can take simple steps to protect oral health. “These include brushing teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion each day, with a fluoride toothpaste, cutting down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visiting your dentist regularly.”

If you offer support or care for children, young people or adults, free e-learning in oral health improvement is also available here.

For more information about National Smile Month and reducing sugary food and drinks, visit the link here.

Somerset County Council’s Sparky Dragon has some great tips for brushing teeth correctly during National Smile Month available to view below.