THOUSANDS of young children are to benefit from a new £1.5m programme aimed at transforming the dental health of under fives across Greater Manchester.

Launched by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, the body overseeing devolution of health and care services, the fresh initiative will see supervised toothbrushing introduced in schools and nurseries plus dental care incorporated into health visitor checks in areas where particularly large numbers of young children suffer from tooth decay.

More than 1 in 3 five year olds across Greater Manchester experience tooth decay. The national average is one in four.

This has resulted in over 15,000 tooth extractions being carried out on local children in the past four years.

Claire Stevens, paediatric dentistry consultant said: "This new initiative is aiming to tackle the very real problems we face in Greater Manchester with large numbers of young children experiencing significant tooth decay often before they even reach school age.

"Such problems can cause pain, sleepless nights."