With children spending an increasing amount of time in childcare, early years professionals play an important role in supporting good oral health. Along with the reform of the EYFS published in September 2021, early years settings must now promote and educate good oral health within our children and encourage and support parents and families.
'In 2017 in England, almost a quarter of five year olds had experienced tooth decay, having an average of 3 or 4 decayed teeth. Figures suggest that more than 105 children a day have their teeth removed in hospital due to tooth decay.' - These figures are alarming - so what can we do?
We can start by working together to;
- reduce the consumption of food and drink containing sugars - we only provide fresh drinking water and 1 cup of cows milk each day for your children - if you wish for your child to drink squash we ask you to sign a disclaimer form and provide the squash to be used - recommending sugar free options
- supporting children to be aware of what good oral health means – helping both children and parents to understand the importance of cleaning their teeth with fluoride toothpaste and eating healthily
- working with parents to emphasise good oral health, and the importance of visiting the dentist on a regular basis
Other than physically brushing your child's teeth whilst at nursery - which really we would try avoid there are many fun activities that we complete with our children to focus on oral health here are just an example of some;
- creating a role play dentist
- brushing the dinosaurs teeth
- sorting 'healthy' and 'unhealthy' foods and drinks into categories
- cooking activities
- preparing fruits and vegetables for meals
- sharing dental hygiene stories
The list is endless but we always follow the lead of our children, and extend their learning.
At Banana Moon we have created a campaign 'Ask for Teddy' - Teddy is a nursery bear who wants to help our children have healthy teeth - if any of our parents/families are in need of support with dental hygiene we are encouraging them to ask for Teddy and will provide them with a special pack full of useful resources to help your little one on their way to a healthy mouth. These packs have been supplied to us by a local dentist and contain;
- a childrens toothbrush
- flouride toothpaste
- a mini sand timer
- tooth brushing chart and sticker
- activity sheets and colouring pencils
- a parent leaflet
In our entrance area we also have some mini toothpastes for parents to take home without having to ask and have displayed our 'Ask for Teddy' poster next to this.
There is an online NHS course for early years professionals, parents and carers to complete which takes around 20 minutes to complete; https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/childrens-oral-health/
We would love to share some interesting resource and information websites for you to visit;
As always we love to inspire learning through sharing books here are some examples of useful books available on Amazon;
If you have any concerns about your childs oral health we are always here to help, alternatively contact your health visitor or dentist/GP if you need medical advice.
Don;t forget, you can always ask for Teddy!
@BananaMoon - 2 months ago