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West Sussex County Council’s award-winning dental toolkit is back

West Sussex County Council’s award-winning dental toolkit is back and this time it is being used to help more people than ever.

The dental toolkit is part of the West Sussex Sugar Reduction Programme. It has seen the County Council’s public health team work alongside the Local Dental Committee, Health Education England and Public Health England to develop the toolkit for dentists to help promote a healthier lifestyle for patients.

This work has raised awareness of the harms of sugar on teeth and its effect on general health; too much sugar can lead to an internal build up of harmful fat. The presence of this fat around vital organs can cause weight gain and serious diseases in the future, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

First launched in May 2018, the four-week pilot ran in 12 dental practices across West Sussex. Aligned to the national Change4Life  and ‘Top tips for teeth’ campaigns, the toolkit included badges, stickers, promotional materials, social media links and prescription pads supporting dental teams to promote sugar reduction awareness amongst patients.

Patients were also directed to healthy lifestyle services within their local Wellbeing Hub for more support if required.

Following the success of the pilot, it was named a national award winner at the Public Health England (PHE) Conference in Warwick.

And now it is being rolled out to all dentists across the county in a bid to promote better dental health among residents.

Children across the country are eating an extra 2,800 sugar cubes a year, which is more than double the recommended amount. Too much sugar is bad for children’s health and can also cause painful tooth decay. Every 10 minutes, a child in England has a tooth removed in hospital.

Toby Hancock is the Chairman of the West Sussex Local Dental Committee. He said: “It has been a great pleasure to work with West Sussex County Council on this exciting and innovative project. Helping to raise the profile of sugar reduction in our patient’s diet is an essential factor in improving the oral health of our community. This easy to use and interactive toolkit has been warmly welcomed by my dental colleagues and their feedback of its acceptance by their patients has been overwhelming too.”