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Pupils brushing teeth at school

Children at school will take a break from lessons everyday to clean their teeth with fluoride toothpaste under the supervision of teachers.

The pilot scheme, called Smile Time, will take place at schools in Greater Manchester and will be extended if it proves successful. The town of Rochdale has been chosen for the project because it has one of the worst rates of tooth decay among children in Britain.

Sugary foods are being blamed as well as parents failing to encourage their children to brush their teeth at home. Last month statistics revealed that nearly half of children under the age of 12 have tooth decay.

The research also uncovered the fact that more than one million British children under five have at least two fillings.

The latest project to combat tooth decay in children is believed to be the first of its kind in England. It will be run by NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale. Bosses hope it will have the same success as a project in Glasgow which saw a huge drop in the number of children with tooth decay.

Andrew Forrest, oral health manager at Pennine Care which is helping to manage the scheme, said:
"With support and supplies from our oral health specialists, school teachers will supervise children aged five to seven brushing their own teeth once during the school day. Teachers will be trained to ensure that only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste will be used for tooth brushing which is the recommended amount for primary school-aged children”.

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