A CAMPAIGN to tackle tooth decay in under-5s has received backing from Blackburn with Darwen Council.

In 2015, Public Health England found children in the borough had the highest rate of tooth decay anywhere in the country.

Figures showed more than half of under-fives in Blackburn with Darwen were suffering with the problem.

Now as part of National Smile Month, the council is backing NHS England's Smile 4 Life campaign to improve children's oral health.

The aim of the campaign is to encourage parents of under-5s who have rarely visited a dentist for their child, or have never visited a dentist for their child, to attend regular check-ups and get early preventative advice.

Figures show that in 2015 more than 55 per cent of five year olds in Blackburn with Darwen had tooth decay.

Tooth decay can be the cause of pain, infection and sleepless nights and young children often need treatment for this.

National Smile Month is a long-running campaign to promote good oral health.

It highlights good dental health practice and how to achieve good physical and mental wellbeing by improving our oral health.

National Smile Month runs until June 13.

Dominic Harrison, director of public health for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "National Smile Month is the perfect time to be launching Smile 4 Life in Blackburn with Darwen.

"We know children’s dental health is an area we need to improve on and the roll-out of this programme is a fantastic way to help do it.

"Our message to the parents of under-5s is that, even though they are still so young, you can still get their teeth checked free of charge and get some vital early preventative advice that could stop problems occurring later on."