The number of children having fluoride treatment - which involves the teeth being "painted" with fluoride - has risen by 55 per cent in the last year, the NHS information centre has revealed.

The official figures show that 850,000 treatments were carried out last year - representing eight per cent of all child treatments.

The procedure is now backed by the NHS, and is seen as a longer-lasting method of protection against tooth decay than brushing.

In it, fluoride gel is applied like a varnish to the teeth to help protect tooth enamel from bacteria in plaque. The procedure needs to be repeated after six months.

It is hoped that despite an initial cost increase to the NHS, the treatment will save money in the long-term as fewer children will need treatment for tooth decay as they get older.

The number of children being seen by the dentist has also risen, to 7.8 million - but this is still 26,000 fewer than was seen between 2004 and 2006.

Posted by Robert Mair on 24.8.11 Please send your comments on this article to: 

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