Big Brush Campaign Targets Manchester Children with Some of the Worst Tooth Decay in England

With almost a third of Oldham’s under-fives showing signs of tooth decay, the Big Brush campaign has been launched to encourage families to get brushing

A campaign is under way to “stop the rot” among children with some of the worst tooth decay in England. Oldham’s kids under five were ranked second worst in the country for tooth decay with figures from Public Health England showing three in ten children in the town have obvious signs of it. The Big Brush campaign encourages good dental habits among youngsters in the town.

The event has been planned by Oldham Council and other partners to get as many under fives brushing their teeth as possible.

Children’s centres will be running brushing activities throughout the week including a fun “tooth trail” for parents with young children to get their teeth into. A mobile dental unit was installed at the Oldham Town Centre on November 20, offering oral health advice.

Councillor Jean Stretton, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “The amount of under-fives in the borough who have tooth decay is extremely worrying and it is a huge priority for the council and its partners to tackle this issue. Every child should brush their teeth with family fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day as soon as the first tooth appears, especially at bedtime and at one other time during the day.”

She added, “Along with our partners, we’ve been working hard to help families and provide support to mothers as soon as their child is born. It is the responsibility of parents to make sure children brush their teeth, but we believe providing advice and support to parents as early as possible will lead to better habits and oral health. I urge all parents to get involved in the Big Brush and together, we can ensure that our children have smiles for life.”

Alan Higgins, Oldham’s Director of Public Health, said: “The council, in partnership with midwives, health visitors, children centres, school nurses and oral health workers, are raising the awareness of the importance of looking after the teeth of our young people. Their work includes handing out free toothbrushes and toothpaste for all children in Oldham.

“Good oral health is important to general health and wellbeing. A healthy mouth enables children to communicate, eat and enjoy a variety of foods and socialise, as well as contributing to their self-esteem, confidence and readiness to learn. Tooth decay and gum disease can be prevented and it is important to begin brushing your child’s teeth as early as possible. Oral health advice and services can also be accessed at our children’s centres.” – Emma Gill