Oral health is part of general health and wellbeing and contributes to the development of a healthy child and school readiness. There are lots of ways we can support children to have the best start in life and looking after their teeth is one way. Tooth decay is largely preventable, yet it remains a serious problem as a quarter of 5 year olds have tooth decay with on average 3 to 4 affected teeth. Early Years settings play a huge role in supporting families and children to develop an understanding of how to look after their teeth and reduce the risk of dental caries.
Here at Early Start we are leading the way to improving oral health outcomes for children and families. Both our nursery settings, Shrewsbury and Susan Lawrence, deliver a Supervised Tooth Brushing Programme as part of children’s daily routine. This supports children to learn the importance of oral health in a fun and supportive environment. It is important to have a healthy diet to maintain good oral health and our nutritionist provide parents with lots of advice on best drink and snack choices as well as sign posting families to their local dentist practice to ensure they are registered.
The Supervised Tooth Brushing Programme is supported by The Dental Wellness Trust, a dental charity which aims to provide tailored oral health education programmes for children, the elderly and also to circulate good practice amongst oral health practitioners. The charity and it’s many committed members work closely with the local community to raise awareness of the importance of oral health amongst families, teach how better to clean their teeth and also to raise funds to support the oral health programmes these communities are in need of.
Early Start Education recently featured on an RTL documentary as an example of good practice in the UK. The training and support we received for the Dental Wellness Trust has meant children are brushing their teeth twice daily, with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes. These messages are being passed to families so they can continue best practice at home. The programme is inline with Public Health England and NICE have recommended that a supervised tooth brushing programme in nurseries and schools is one of the most effective ways to improve the oral health of children from an early age and preventing oral disease.