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Cultural barriers blamed for borough’s bad teeth

Tooth Fairy persuades children to give up sugar in new council film

26 January, 2018 — By William McLennan

One third of five year olds have at least one decayed tooth

WESTMINSTER Council has said that “cultural barriers” are partly responsible for the high-levels of tooth decay in school children.

The council has launched a campaign to try to tackle poor oral hygiene and encourage youngsters to look after their teeth, and persuade their parents to sign up to a dentist.

Around 35 per cent of five-year-olds have at least one decayed, missing or filled tooth, the council said, compared with 27 per cent across London and 25 per cent nationwide.

They said the figures were “concerning given tooth decay is almost entirely preventable”.

A statement said: “Research shows that there are additional cultural and transitory barriers to registering with a dentist early and a lack of awareness of dental health resources.”

An animated video has been made to target children, which is being broadcast in schools. It depicts the Tooth Fairy attempting to persuade a young boy, called Ravi, to pack in the sugary drinks and sweets, in favour of fresh fruits or vegetables.

Cllr Heather Acton, city council cabinet member for adult social services and public health, said: “It is so important that we lead the way and address this problem in Westminster.

“We are aiming to reach children and taking the time to get the message across in an innovative way, working with schools, dentists and doctors.”

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