Children in Lancashire and Cumbria have poorer dental health compared to children in other parts of England. The Smile4Life programme was developed in partnership with local authorities to address this problem.
The programme aimed to reduce tooth decay in children, laying a solid foundation for their good oral health throughout life. The approach focused on sustained behaviour change, supported across the health and social care systems in Lancashire and Cumbria, with interventions informed by ‘Delivering Better Oral Health.’ Smile4Life was designed to support everyone who had a role in the development of CYP.
Four key areas for action provided the framework for implementing the programme. These related to facilitating healthier diets, regular and appropriate tooth brushing, adopting healthier lifestyles and regular access to dental services. An important aspect of the programme was equipping the wider workforce to support programme delivery. This involved a cascade training approach involving the CYP, and voluntary sector workforce in children’s centres and other early years settings.
Experienced NHS oral health promoters trained nominated oral health champions using a standardised training package and web-based resources. The oral health champions then shared and helped to deliver evidence-based oral and general health messages within their workplaces.