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Tooth decay in five year olds in Wales has declined by 12% since 2008, thanks to the successful Designed to Smile oral health improvement programme.

First published:
30 March 2017
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

Since the Designed to Smile programme was launched in 2008, levels of dental decay in five year olds in Wales have steadily declined and the programme has encouraged nearly 95,000 children to regularly brush their teeth. 

Following on from this success, the Designed to Smile programme will now be re-focused to target the under fives.

Research has shown that dental decay often starts early and therefore early prevention will have the most impact. The new focus of the Designed to Smile activities will therefore shift towards this younger age group, with the aim of achieving as many children as possible to be decay free by five years old.

The Chief Dental Officer, Colette Bridgman said:

“The refocus of the programme will encourage everyone working with children under five to help improve their oral health. It is important that every young child in Wales is supervised to brush their teeth with family fluoride toothpaste at bedtime, and on one other occasion every day. Having nothing sweet to eat or drink in the last hour before bedtime will also help to protect teeth from decay."     

Speaking at the Designed to Smile symposium in Cardiff today, the Minister for Social Services and Public Health, Rebecca Evans said:

“I am very pleased to see how successful Designed to Smile has been in improving children’s dental health in Wales and want to thank all those who have been involved in the programme for their hard work and commitment.

“We now know that to improve dental health further, it is important to start at an earlier age, so that tooth decay can be prevented before it becomes a problem. That is why we are refocussing the programme so it targets the under fives.”