Children in the Borders are leading the way in Scotland when it comes to looking after their teeth.
More P7 pupils in the region this year could boast having no obvious signs of dental decay - 84% - than anywhere else in Scotland, and it’s down to the combined efforts of parents, NHS Border dental services and schools.
“This is really positive and it’s gone up from 2013 when it was 78% of children with no sign of decay,” said Morag McQuade, clinical director of public dental services with NHS Borders.
Since 2007 dental nurses have been visiting nurseries and schools in the region applying flouride varnish to children’s teeth. This varnishing doesn’t just protect the teeth from damage it can also remineralise the enamel and has helped reduce decay in children’s teeth by 30%.
It is done several times, the dental team identifying those most in need and it is followed up by a positive dental health message in the schools.
“We are in 75% of schools, we couldn’t do it without the education department being on board,” said Morag.
“I know making sure children brush their teeth takes time at school but it’s amazing how teachers can work it into the curriculum.
“Our target was to be in 75% of schools but I want to see us in 100%.”
The dental programme developed for Borders youngsters is part of the national Child Smile programme and work done by Glasgow University shows it’s really having an effect on the dental health of children and reducing inequalities.”
Across the region 80% of children are registered with a dentist and of those 92% attend for regular check-ups. That’s a better rate than adults - of those registered with a dentist 83% attend regularly. Coldstream Dental Centre currently has spare capacity so there’s no excuse not to be registered with an NHS dentist.