The government has said that a dental and oral health strategy for children sets out how different areas of government will work together to provide a more favourable outcome around children’s oral health in the island.

The plan, titled ‘The Amalgamated Implementation Plan for Dental Strategy and Oral Health Strategy for Children (0 – 11 years) 2021 – 2026’ sets out specific actions from Public Health, Manx Care and the Department of Health and Social Care, to ensure a cohesive approach to dental health.

It comes after the Oral Health Strategy found that 25% of five-year-olds in the island have experiences of tooth decay.

As such, The Social Affairs Policy Review Committee made a number of recommendations to improve children’s oral health, including that an updated implementation plan for the 2021-2026 Oral Health Strategy for Children aged up to 11 should be laid before Tynwald by the end of July 2023.

The government says that the plan brings together Public Health’s Oral Health Strategy for Children 2021-2026 and DHSC’s Dental Strategy 2020-2025, updated to include all of the recommendations agreed by the Council of Ministers and the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee (SAPRC).

Work planned includes a re-launch of the supervised toothbrushing programme, Smile of Mann, an evidence paper on fluoridation in water and a plan to increase the accessibility of dentists.

The Amalgamated Plan will be reported on regularly and annual updates will appear on the Public Health website. The next step is for the plan to be laid before Tynwald in the October sitting.

Interim Director for Public Health, Professor Hugo van Woerden, said: ‘This is an important step towards addressing the recommendations from SAPRC for oral health in children in the Isle of Man.

‘The amalgamated plan will enable us to work across government and give us the structure to report on progress against each action. We look forward to keeping the public updated.’

The Minister for Health and Social Care, Lawrie Hooper MHK, said: ‘As our Island Plan sets out, we are committed to creating sustainable services for our future.

‘This is particularly important in children’s health.

It is vital that government departments work together to address the bigger picture. By aligning our strategies for oral and dental health in our children, we have a stronger foundation to work from.’