Oral Health

Dental decay is one of the most common preventable childhood diseases and tooth extractions are the biggest reason children are admitted to hospital for general anaesthetics in the UK.

Promoting oral health is now a statutory duty under the new EYFS for all early years settings and schools

What does the statutory framework for the early years foundation Stage say about oral health?

There has been a change in the safeguarding and welfare section of the EYFS, promoting children’s oral health

Section 3 – The safeguarding and welfare requirements

Health
Medicines

p32 3.45. The provider must promote the good health, including the oral health, of children attending the setting. They must have a procedure, discussed with parents and/or carers, for responding to children who are ill or infectious, take necessary steps to prevent the spread of infection, and take appropriate action if children are ill.

Promoting oral health is now a statutory duty under the new EYFS for all early years settings and schools

Public Health England have developed a quick guide to a healthy mouth in children and a Toolkit for Prevention to help prevent tooth decay. Supervised toothbrushing is encouraged and supported for early years settings. Further information about childhood oral health and early years foundation stage, can be found on the EYFS oral health information page.

Promoting oral health is now a statutory duty under the new EYFS for all early years settings and schools

Use fluoride toothpaste. This helps to prevent and control tooth decay.

  • No need to buy special “children’s toothpaste” brands- some of them don’t have enough fluoride in them to prevent tooth decay
  • Children can use family toothpaste, as long as it contains 1,350-1,500 ppm fluoride (ask your dentist if you’re unsure)
  • Encourage spitting out excess toothpaste
  • Do not to rinse with lots of water- rinsing with water after tooth brushing can wash away the fluoride and make it less effective

The more often a child has sugary or acidic foods or drinks, the more likely they are to have decay therefore:

  • Limit sugary and acidic foods: squash, fizzy drinks, juice drinks as these contain sugar and have limited nutritional value
  • Offer water or milk to drink
  • Snacks for children: stick to foods that do not harm teeth such as vegetables, cheese, and fruit
  • Aim to introduce drinking from a free-flow cup from six months of age and stop feeding from a bottle from 12 months of age
  • Avoid cups with valves
  • If fruit juice is offered dilute one-part juice to one-part water and only offer in an open or free flowing lidded cup
  • Low sugar / no added sugar / sugar free drinks although these have less sugar they contain citric acid which is equally harmful to children’s teeth.

Further resources and information

Contacts

Nicola Theobald – (General and Nursery School Enquiries)

Deborah Brown – (General Enquiries)

Dawn Butler – (General Enquiries)

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