Delivering a Tooth Brushing Programme in your Nursery
As set out in the revised Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework, early years providers are required to promote the good oral health of children. This has been included because good oral health habits need to be formed from an early age. Tooth decay is largely preventable, but it’s still a serious problem among young children, effecting around a quarter (25%) of 5 year olds!
Promoting Oral Health
You can decide how you promote oral health, based on what works best in your setting. It’s a good idea to link oral health to things you already promote, like self-care, healthy eating and physical development. Try to be creative and imaginative, for example:
- Encourage children to brush the teeth of dolls or soft toys.
- Use large teeth models and brushes for children to practice on.
- Read stories about keeping teeth happy and healthy.
- Talk about tooth friendly food and drinks that help to grow strong teeth, and those that we should limit as they’re no so tooth friendly (be mindful about the language you use and avoid labelling foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’).
- Roll play going to the dentist- book children and teddies in for check-ups!
Another great way to promote and support good oral health is by delivering a supervised tooth brushing programme.
What is a Supervised Tooth Brushing Programme?
Delivering a supervised tooth brushing programme in your early years setting supports children to integrate tooth brushing into their daily routines.
Once trained, practitioners will be able to support children to:
- Correctly wash their hands
- Brush all surfaces of the teeth for 2 minutes – front teeth, back teeth, biting surface, outside, inside, upper and lower teeth
- Brush the tongue
- Spit toothpaste out and not rinse.
Practitioners will also gain confidence in discussing the importance of tooth brushing and good oral health practices with families so they can continue these at home.
Examples of Settings Delivering the Programme
Following training and support from the Dental Wellness Trust (DWT), Susan Lawrence and Shrewsbury Nurseries have been successfully delivering a daily Supervised Tooth Brushing Programme. Staff at the settings are extremely positive in delivering the programme, and children look forward to brushing their teeth each day. Some parents have even reported that their child who was once a reluctant brusher, is now happily brushing their teeth at home!
Hear what they’ve got to say about the Supervised Tooth Brushing Programme in the video below:
How can our setting take part?
Newham early years settings
- If you’re setting is in Newham, London and you’re interested in rolling out the programme, please contact our team today to express your interest
- You’ll need to attend a short training session with the DWT (around 20-30 minutes)
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste will be provide free of charge by the DWT.
Outside of Newham early years settings
- There are various schemes that support the roll out of a Supervised Tooth Brushing Programme, but it’s best to speak to your local authority about it and read the supervised tooth brushing programme toolkit from Public Health England.
- If you decide to introduce supervised tooth brushing, read the guidance on supervised toothbrushing during coronavirus (COVID-19).
- You can also contact the Dental Wellness Trust directly to find out how they can support your setting.
Online Oral Health Training
Oral health promotion training is another great way of ensuring your staff have a basic understanding of what good oral health is.
Our Oral Health Promotion online training explores the factors that can impact on children’s oral health, such as diet, tooth brushing and dental visits. Practitioners will also learn useful tips and strategies to help them support families in looking after their children’s teeth at home.