Youngsters shown how to look after their pearly whites

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Reception children from Somers Park Primary School have been learning how to clean their teeth and the importance of oral hygiene.

Staff from the University of Portsmouth’s Dental Academy demonstrated how to brush teeth to get them as clean as possible.

The school in Somers Road, Somers Town, has joined 14 others in the city that have signed up to the scheme.

Portsmouth has some of the worst oral health in the country.

Children in the city have some of the highest number of decayed and missing teeth.

Around 44 per cent of children aged five or under have tooth decay in the city – compared to just 25 per cent in the north of the county.

Headteacher Jan Fleming said: ‘Tooth decay in the under-fives is the worst in Portsmouth in this ward, so it’s important children clearly understand how to care for their teeth.

‘This scheme, while time consuming, ensures children understand good dental hygiene.’

Children were shown how to brush their teeth, how long for, and why it’s important to keep the mouth clean.

They were also given free toothbrushes and toothpaste, and will brush their teeth every day at school.

Dental tutor Alison Press said: ‘Teaching children now sets them up for the future.

‘The programme comes from Scotland, as there were high levels of tooth decay there.

‘The scheme was a massive success, so we have introduced it in Portsmouth.

‘Children are learning to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes and how it can stop tooth decay.

‘It also means they can teach the next generation how to clean teeth properly and encourage having a healthy diet.’

NHS Portsmouth and NHS Hampshire fund the scheme.