Free toothbrushes and toothpaste are being distributed to more than 2,600 children across East Suffolk in a bid to promote good oral health.

Councillors are hoping to encourage good toothbrushing routines among youngsters early on in life to try and reduce the need for costly dental work in future.

East Suffolk Council has teamed up with Community Dental Services (CDS) community interest company to work with children in primary school years one, two and six.

A host of towns across the district such as Beccles, Felixstowe and Lowestoft have benefited from the health packs, thanks to funding from councillors.

Amanda Turner, oral health improvement manager at CDS, said: “We are an organisation that supports the community and we are looking at reducing the inequalities in oral health.

“By providing oral health input, the project ensures the right message and education is given. In the packs received by year six children, we have also provided an evaluation piece of work produced for the teachers and pupils themselves.

“Our Healthy Smiles Award is a programme that is proven to work, instilling good oral health habits in young children that last a lifetime.”

The Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and villages community partnership at East Suffolk Council has funded 600 packs containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, two-minute timer and information sheet.

In Felixstowe, Conservative councillor Steve Wiles has used his enabling community budget to fund 520 packs to Key Stage 1 children at five of the town’s primaries.

Meanwhile, in Lowestoft, five Labour councillors have pooled their enabling community budget to distribute 1,500 packs through Lowestoft Rising with support from Morrisons to primary school children in years one and two.

The project comes at a time when the cost of living crisis means private dental care may not be an option for hard-pressed families, while availability of NHS dental appointments remains a challenge nationally and locally.

Mary Rudd, East Suffolk’s Conservative cabinet member for community health, said: “We’ve heard from local food banks that oral hygiene is one of the things affected by the current cost of living pressures, so I hope this project can help ensure families receive the right tools and information."