YOUNG children in Somerset can get help with looking after their teeth as figures show one in four five-year-olds and more than a third of 12-year-olds have dental decay.

Fluoride varnish applications are being provided in selected early years settings and children's centres as part of Somerset Smiles, a new service aiming to improve people's oral health.

The new Primary Care Dental Service, commissioned by Somerset County Council and run by Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, will also offer oral health care training for carers, wider workforce training for professionals and the distribution of toothbrush and toothpaste packs.

Cllr. Anna Groskop, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Somerset County Council, said: “Childhood is a key time to develop lifelong good behaviours relating to oral health, and we know that poor oral health affects the most vulnerable in our society.

“Our priority is to establish good health for all in Somerset and our new service aims to promote good oral health to the whole population, while targeting areas where it is needed most.”

Sue Wilson, oral health co-ordinator/senior dental nurse, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very pleased to be working in close partnership with Somerset County Council in this exciting opportunity to deliver evidence-based targeted interventions to improve oral health and contribute to addressing oral health inequalities across Somerset.”


•Spit, don’t rinse when you clean your teeth – this washes away the fluoride from the toothpaste.

•Visit a dentist regularly, don’t wait until you have a problem.

•Take children to a dentist from an early age, this will help them to not be scared of going when they are older.

•Start cleaning infant’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.

•Avoid using a bottle after one year of age, don’t put sugary drinks in a bottle.

•Brush your teeth just before you go to bed, and before you have anything to eat or drink at breakfast.

•Eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, remember your five a day.

•Clean all the surface of your teeth – this should take at least two minutes. Flossing or using interdental brushes will help prevent gum disease.

•If your teeth are sensitive to cold water you may want to try cleaning your teeth with warm water.