We’re very proud that our Stanley practice is the first in the North East to join forces with Teeth Team, a nationally-recognised initiative to improve kids’ dental health by taking dental education directly to local primary schools.
The first school in the area to experience the Teeth Team programme is St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Stanley. This week, Teeth Team, with our dentist Lewis Kapa and dental nurse Julie Hughes, visited St Joseph’s to carry out children’s dental health assessments, apply fluoride varnish, and provide details for children’s parents about how to access further dental care if required.
We will be returning for further assessments in six months, and Teeth Team has also equipped the teachers with the facilities to carry out a daily, supervised tooth-brushing programme with the pupils.
Our support of Teeth Team comes at a time when cases of children’s tooth decay are rising. An analysis of NHS figures by the Local Government Association earlier this year found that there were 42,911 hospital operations to remove children’s teeth in England in 2016-17, up from 40,800 the previous year, and 36,833 in 2012-13.
Onkar Dhanoya has been our principal dentist at our well-known Stanley practice for more than 30 years, having taken it over from the late Gordon Smales in 1986.
Onkar said: “We are thrilled to be the first practice in the region to support Teeth Team in their very worthwhile work. We are particularly delighted to be visiting St Joseph’s, across the road from us, as the first school in the area to experience this programme.
“Our name reflects the fact that we are always working to improve patients’ health, and we want to take every opportunity to inspire children to protect their teeth from an early age – particularly considering the shocking NHS statistics about the rising number of tooth extractions happening in hospitals across the country. These are preventable operations and we want to do all that we can to help decrease that number.”
The Teeth Team programme is facilitated within the City of Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire in conjunction with 543 Dental Centre.
Mrs Fountain, coordinator of Teeth Team, said: “We are so pleased that Honour Health has chosen to support our initiative, as our first North East practice. We hope that, by visiting schools regularly, and working with Honour Health to educate local children about keeping their teeth healthy, we can help to prevent tooth decay and hopefully lower the number of fillings or extractions needed by children.”
Mrs Haveron, acting head teacher at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, said: “The children really enjoyed their visit from Teeth Team and Honour Health. The team really know how to create a fun learning experience for youngsters, which is so important, it helps them to learn good dental health habits for life.”
For further information about Teeth Team, visit www.teethteam.org.uk
For further information about St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, visit http://www.stanley-pri.durham.sch.uk
Photo caption: Back row – our dental nurse Julie Hughes with our dentist Lewis Kapa. Front row (left to right) – St Joseph’s School pupils Ava Rafferty, Archie Harrison and Faith Regan.