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Town tops teeny tooth decay league shock

(March 11, 2009)
SMILE for the camera took on a new special meaning as mothers discovered in Warminster today as the 'happy little teeth campaign' was launched at the Avenue School, writes Paul Macdonald.
Wiltshire health chiefs concerned about problems with the the toothteeth of children not even yet five decided to take positive action as they discovered 500 toddlers had to be put out of consciousness to have their teeth tended.
"We chose Warminster because it has the highest dental decay rate in the age group," explained Dot Wheadon.
Surveys of up to five-year-olds taken down to a post code level meant that the three year programme funded by the oral health promoters started in the town.
"The puppet show to five year olds is very good," said Dot. "We have the magic toothbrush from Tommy."
Pelham Puppets, world famous and originating from Marlborough, are used to tell a story to very young children.
As well as 'Tommy the Toothbrush' there is 'Dan Decay', 'Topsy Tooth' 'Sweetie Sue' and 'Mr. Dentist'.
"We are actively looking for more invites from schools for our puppet show."
The Sure Start centre at the school provided plenty of interested parents.
"We do the bumps and babes," said Karen Edgar pictured at the display with her youngster Max Stainer and Dot Wheadon.
"We have just started to brush his teeth. We had a talk and it refreshes me about how to care for his teeth. It is very important to remember their teeth."
Another mother, Loma Harris, with her toddler Jason Armour, learned something new.
"You think you know," she said. "I did not know you have to help until they are seven."
The two member team will be at the Avenue School again on today and Thursday handing out a free toddlers toothbrush and toothpaste.

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