17/09/2003

Derry school runs pilot dental project

A Londonderry school has become the first facility of its kind in Northern Ireland to have its own fully equipped dental surgery within its premises.

The initiative was developed by the dental service in Foyle HSS Trust, which examined the level of oral health in schools within its area using Decayed, Missing and Filled indicators (DMF) – recognised measure of decay levels.

St Peter’s showed high DMF levels in comparison to other secondary schools in the area and was therefore chosen for the pilot surgery, which also includes a dental hygienist providing oral health education.

Launching the dental health pilot project Health Minister, Angela Smith said: “The pupils of St Peter’s are very fortunate that they now have their very own dental surgery. This is the only school in Northern Ireland that has such facilities and I hope it will be of benefit to both staff and students.

“For the pupils this is an opportunity to have check-ups and treatment without a wait for appointments. There will also be a dental hygienist who will provide oral health education in the school. I am sure it will be of great benefit."

Due to the higher decay levels found in Northern Ireland children, the average cost of a child’s course of dental treatment here is 39% higher than that in England and Wales.

The 2002 North-South dental survey showed that in Northern Ireland six out of ten 5-year-old children have experienced dental decay.

The WHO global oral health goal for the year 2000 was that 50% of 5-year-old children should not have experienced dental decay.

(MB)

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