We have recently introduced at all nurseries a new toothbrushing initiative in response to recent Public Health England figures which show almost a quarter of five years olds have tooth decay. Here’s the background to this important initiative:
Public Health England is working in partnership with national charity 4Children on a pilot project called ‘Smiles4Children’ looking at the feasibility of introducing supervised toothbrushing nationally in England in Early Years settings as a means of assisting in the battle against tooth decay in early years. It seeks to improve children’s oral health by creating a fun, group environment for toothbrushing in early years settings, setting the foundations for positive oral hygiene in later life.
Toad Hall Nursery Group is one of 70 nurseries and 20 childminder settings across the country selected to help explore the practical implications of introducing a supervised toothbrushing programme in early years settings. The work will involve looking at potential costs; the impact on staff; the resources required; information for the settings; engagement with parents; partnerships with dental surgeries and the projected benefits to children’s oral health.
Sue Robb from 4Children explains: “We have an oral health crisis among our under-fives that is set to get worse without immediate intervention. It is unacceptable that tooth decay is the most common reason for hospital admissions for children under five. Provided that children have a good approach to oral hygiene, tooth decay is highly preventable.”
So how will it work in practice?
At Toad Hall our aim is to improve children’s oral health by creating a fun group activity, setting the foundations for positive oral hygiene in later life.
The children will brush their teeth a minimum of once a day at nursery. Everyone brushes their teeth together and we discuss the importance of doing this, so all children get involved. The children love it!
- Each child has been given their own toothbrush supplied by nursery (courtesy of 4Children) which will be replaced every 3 months.
- Each toothbrush is labelled with the child’s name and is stored in a named place in a toothbrush rack. The toothbrushes do not touch and the rack storage method means the toothbrushes are able to circulate to minimise germs and cross contamination.