Pupils at Ysgol Parcyrhun, Ammanford have received a gold award for their commitment to the national Designed to Smile programme.

Cylch Meithrin children aged between two- and four-years-old take part in morning and afternoon teeth brushing sessions as part of the initiative which is designed to improve the oral hygiene of primary school children by encouraging them to establish good dental health habits from an early age.

The award is handed out to schools who have demonstrated a commitment to the programme for more than three years with Parcyrhun Cylch Meithrin now in its sixth year.

The Welsh Government funded programme was a direct response to concerns about the levels of tooth decay in young children in Wales. Launched in 2009, with a focus on disadvantaged areas, Designed to Smile has been acknowledged as a key factor for a 12 per cent reduction in rates of tooth decay amongst five year old children in Wales, as reported by the Welsh Government.

As part of the scheme, and in addition to home brushing, pupils are shown how to brush their teeth daily at school following clinical guidance on best practice, with appropriate fluoride toothpaste.

Cylch Meithrin leader, Helen Palmer, said: “Children respond very positively to the daily brushing. We brush to music so that we encourage the children to brush for two minutes – the duration of the song.

“All our staff are trained so that health and safety is paramount at all times.

“We also offer support to parents regarding use of dummies and bottles and beakers. Parents have given positive feedback so far and are grateful for the support.”

Children at the Cylch are also educated in good health using the Designed to Smile and Healthy Preschool programmes.

Helen added: “We participate in fun activities that cover oral health, healthy eating and food tasting, we all enjoy visit to dentists and doctors during our People Who Help Us activity.”

The older children in the school are also given the opportunity to get involved in the fluoride varnish scheme once a year which helps protect their teeth in the long term.

The school has participated in the scheme for around six years and during this time has helped over 150 children kick start their journey to better oral health.