Supervised toothbrushing in schools is among a number of schemes suggested in a £1million pound push to improve dental services in Suffolk.

Under new proposals from the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB), £1.1 million of this will be held by Suffolk County Council for a variety of new initiatives to improve dental care.

Part of this will be targeted at families with children, aiming to instil proper oral hygiene from a young age and to curb problems later on, alongside community clinics to provide care and advice for the most vulnerable families.

The projects come at a time when there is deep concern about the availability of NHS dental care and treatment across Suffolk.

Some areas now have no NHS dentists or very few, and the charity Dentaid has been sending its mobile unit to towns to provide care for people. 

Supervised Toothbrushing schemes in schools and early years settings for two to eight-year-olds would cost £207,370 over the next two years.

The ICB has also raised using £90,000 to build on their current 'Keep Suffolk Smiling' project for the next three years, which sees health visitors visiting young children from 12 months through to two years old.

A community varnishing programme has also been suggested, by which a varnish-rich fluoride is applied to the enamel, priced at £205,341 including staff costs.

The plans detail using £195,341 to offer community clinics for families who receive universal credit and £180,792 for the coordination and promotion of these oral health projects.

The ICB has also suggested that £200,000 be given to Domiciliary and Specialist Care in Suffolk, aiming to reduce waiting lists and support wider dental initiatives from April this year.

Problems with dental care in the county could be improved with the formation of a centre for dental development on the University of Suffolk’s campus in Ipswich.

The centre will be run as a social dental enterprise in order to attract and train newly-qualified dentists to work within this dental facility to supply additional much-needed NHS dental provision across Suffolk as well as enabling leading-edge education and training for the current and future dental workforce.