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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Dental surgery plan for schools
Dental work
People will be encouraged to take up good dental health habits
Dentists could be based in schools on Teesside under proposals to tackle high levels of child tooth decay.

Middlesbrough Council's health scrutiny panel has put forward 14 recommendations after a six-month study of dental health in the town.

One idea is that plans for new schools should incorporate dental and health care facilities on site.

More than half of five-year-olds in the town suffer some form of tooth decay, the highest level in the region.

The study focused on dental health among children, older people living in residential homes and people with learning disabilities.

'Brush bus'

The panel spoke to experts from the Durham and Tees Valley Public Health Network, local dentists and the school meals service.

Scrutiny panel chairman Eddie Dryden said: "In Middlesbrough, we do have good access to dental services, but sadly that doesn't mean we have acceptable levels of dental health.

"There's a lot of work that has to be done in the community, in schools and in the home to get people into the right habits as early as possible to improve dental health."

Earlier this year, Middlesbrough Council announced it was bidding for 90m of funding under the Building Schools for the Future to modernise buildings.

Other recommendations from the panel are that schools should consider a reward system for healthy eating and a "brush bus" encouraging children to clean their teeth while at school.

It said government plans to modernise dental services should be adapted in the town to reflect local needs and the primary care trust should carry out a survey access for disabled people at dental surgeries.

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