CRACKING tooth decay is proving cheesy-peasy at a Swindon dental practice.

Children visiting the Victoria Road Dental Practice are being given a complementary 20g portion of Cathedral City cheddar cheese to go with their glowing smile.

"Parents have been a bit surprised, I have to say," said Jenny McEwen, a dentist at the practice.

"You don't expect more than a sticker when you go to the dentist."

The practice is one of a number around the country which have linked up with the British Cheese Board and the British Dental Health Foundation to celebrate National Smile Month.

Jenny said: "It's highlighting the fact that cheese is good for you.

"One piece is not going to reduce their decay, it raises awareness and informs people."

The practice has even been given a mini fridge especially for the cheeses.

Jenny said: "We're really pleased to be part of it - anything that involves dental health and makes children think I'll have this snack instead of a bar of chocolate in my lunch box.'"

The cheese will be distributed until it runs out.

Cheese can have immediate benefits for oral health because it is good for neutralising plaque acids, but its high calcium and phosphorous content may also help by replacing some of the minerals in tooth enamel, said Jenny.

She added that all the parents have been supportive of the scheme.

"If a child is told something by the dentist it carries more weight so parents are pleased to have it."

Expert advice is to try and eat a small piece of cheese at the end of meals, put cheese cubes in your child's lunchbox and add cheese to meals where possible.