A SCHOOL in Bradford is on a mission to make its pupils more ‘tooth aware’ after its head noticed an increase in problems with children’s dental health.

Gillian Wilson took the reins at St Oswald’s Primary Academy, Great Horton, last April.

With 24 years in the teaching industry, Miss Wilson said: “Just recently I’ve noticed lots of children complaining of tooth ache and they seem to be having a lot of tooth decay and needing to have their teeth out.

“Since starting here in April, I’ve noticed for the first time ever in my teaching career of children complaining of tooth ache.

“It’s like going back to the 1960s and 70s, you can’t believe it in this day in age.

“Looking back now when I started teaching, the condition of our children’s teeth compared to the late 90s has deteriorated markedly.”

Miss Wilson says she is not laying blame at the feet of parents, but believes partnership work and taking “collective responsibility” for children is important.

“I think a lot of our children have found it difficult getting into the dentist,” Miss Wilson said.

“They’re tending to use dentists as more of an emergency, so it’s after the unfortunate act of the tooth decay has taken place and they go as a last resort as opposed to it been preventative and just going for check-ups every six months.

“I think what we need to do as a school is to put that extra insurance policy layer in there for them and try to do all the preventative things around it.

“So at least if we can’t cure it completely or stop it from happening, at least we can slow it down until they can get some kind of help.”

Miss Wilson has vowed to make children more tooth aware and will kick off the in-school campaign with a tooth awareness day.

There are plans to hold one every term and create activities to explain the importance of tooth brushing and good dental health.

Miss Wilson said: “It’s their life - whilst we are teaching children all the good literacy, numeracy skills and we’re giving them confidence skills and skills for life, if we neglect their teeth, you think about going for a job interview, they are not going to have the confidence to push themselves forward.

“I’ve got a real passion for children in Bradford, they have got every much right as children from anywhere else in the country to do just as well, and they can do, they can really succeed.

“I just don’t want to have let them down with not thinking about the wider range of their education.”

The school’s nursery has also been signed up to a supervised brushing scheme and it’s hoped that will run through the school in future.