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Health expert calling for better tooth brushing awareness for children

PUBLISHED: 16:06 07 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:06 07 February 2018

(From left) Anita Webster, oral health educator for Norwich, Catherine Austin, oral health educator for Norwich, and Donna Secker, west Norfolk oral health educator. Picture: SENT IN BY DONNA SECKER

(From left) Anita Webster, oral health educator for Norwich, Catherine Austin, oral health educator for Norwich, and Donna Secker, west Norfolk oral health educator. Picture: SENT IN BY DONNA SECKER

SENT IN BY DONNA SECKER

A health expert is encouraging parents, schools and toddler groups to promote good tooth brushing among children.

Donna Secker, 49, who works as an oral health educator in west Norfolk for Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, has seen a rise in the number of youngsters with tooth decay.

Mrs Secker, who has been in the profession for 15 years, holds free oral health sessions for anyone aged under 19.

She said: “Alarmingly there are a number of children in King’s Lynn that don’t have tooth brushes.

“It is a really simple message, but there are a lot of children who leave the house without brushing their teeth. It only takes two minutes.

“I think the problem is getting worse. That is because of sugar in drinks and sweets.”

Mrs Secker, who is based at St James’ Clinic in King’s Lynn, added it was important she and her two colleagues did preventative work and encouraged tooth brushing in under fives from as early as possible.

They do this by speaking to schools, baby, toddler and child groups, children’s centre sessions, antenatal and postnatal groups and parents’ houses across Norfolk.

“Anyone who needs help - please contact us. The communication doesn’t seem to be getting out that we are here. If we get out there, we can get the message across,” Mrs Secker said.

Out of West Norfolk’s 90 schools she goes into 20 of them.

She recommends that tooth brushing without toothpaste starts twice a day as soon as a baby’s first milk tooth appears.

A smear of toothpaste should be used from when four milk teeth emerge.

Children should also visit the dentist within six months after their first tooth arrives or by the age of one.

Mrs Secker said: “Baby food is one of the worst things for sugar.”

She added children only needed milk and water in their diet.

The health professional said milk teeth decay led to extractions which caused delays in speech and problems when chewing food.

She said added healthy milk teeth were important for healthy adult teeth.

For more information email donna.secker@nchc.nhs.uk

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