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It's smiles all round.

SMILES revealing shiny white teeth were flashed by youngsters as a Middlesbrough school celebrated the success of a dental health scheme.

At Newport Primary School every child can boast healthy teeth and gums after they were encouraged to brush at school.

Middlesbrough Health Improvement Service and Tees Community Dental Service are working with primary schools to reduce tooth decay among children.

Other Middlesbrough schools taking part in the Brushing Before Breakfast in Schools the scheme are Marton Grove, Park End, St Pius, and Ayresome.

The schools are supplied with equipment including toothbrushes and toothpaste and children are encouraged to brush when they come into school. They are also encouraged to brush their teeth at home.

Every half-term the children have their teeth checked and they keep a portfolio, containing photographs of their teeth and the work they have done on oral health.

Newport is the only school where every single child is taking part in the scheme.

Julie Sutton, headteacher at Newport Primary School, said: "We give parents the option not to take part in the programme but we have had very little or no negative responses. Parents have been very supportive and actually children enjoy taking part in it and take it quite seriously."

Helen Matthews, specialist with Middlesbrough Health Improvement said data showed children's rates of decay in the town were higher than they should be.

Marie Burgam, oral health promotion adviser with Tees Community Dental Health Service, said: "We want them to establish good brushing routines from an early age."

Samir Yousef and Jack Garson, both nine, brush their teeth every morning and night.

Samir said: "If you don't brush your teeth they will fall out and then you can't eat properly."

Jack said: "If you don't brush your teeth plaque will build up."


BRUSHING UP: Samir Yousef aged nine and classmates at Newport Primary School demonstrate 'brushing before breakfast' Picture by IAN McINTYRE
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Feb 12, 2008
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