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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Poor children to get teeth tips
The packs are to be handed out in the most deprived areas
Children and parents living in the most deprived areas are to be given tips on teeth brushing.

The Department of Health has teamed up with toothpaste-makers Colgate to encourage families with young children to get into good brushing habits.

Primary care trusts will be encouraged to buy Brushing for Life kits to hand out free through local dental clinics.

Some 300,000 packs containing toothpaste, toothbrushes and a leaflet on oral hygiene have been produced.

Behaviour we learn as children on diet and dental hygiene lasts all our lives
Rosie Winterton, health minister

Health visitors will also be trained to give advice on good brushing techniques.

The initiative will be targetted at areas of greatest social deprivation.

It comes after the government has spent four years providing free toothpaste to families with young children in the most deprived areas under a pilot scheme.

Health Minister Rosie Winterton said: "Thanks to the introduction of fluoride toothpaste and better oral health education, there have been major improvements in oral health.

"However, behaviour we learn as children on diet and dental hygiene lasts all our lives.

Good habits

"That is why it is so important that children learn to look after their teeth well when they are young.

"Learning the importance of brushing your teeth well when you are young means you are less likely to suffer from bad oral health when you are older, and that is what these kits are designed to do."

Marie Gabriel, of Newham PCT, one of the areas to benefit from the scheme, said it would enable the trust "to educate families with young children of the benefits of instilling good habits from a young age".

"The Brushing for Life care packs are an essential resource providing us with the tools to equip parents to start making that difference."

Peter Ward, chief executive of the British Dental Association, said: "Despite an overall improvement in the oral health of the UK over the last 30 years, inequalities between those with the best and worst oral health exist.

"Education and advice to help parents take care of their children's teeth are important steps in tackling these inequalities."


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