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Oral Health in Early Years

Early years providers have a responsibility to promote the health of children in their setting, as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Strategic Framework. Good oral health can form a part of this. A recent report by 4Children of the deliverability of supervised toothbrushing in nurseries and childminding settings for two to four year olds in England, found that the delivery of such programmes was easily manageable.

Tooth decay is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England, yet it is largely preventable. Whilst children’s oral health has improved over the past 20 years, recent reports have found that almost a quarter (24.7%, 2015) of five year olds and 12% of three year olds had tooth decay (2014).

Poor oral health can affect children and young people’s ability to sleep, eat, speak, play and socialise with other children. The impacts can be seen educationally with children missing school and in addition can effect parents/carers who would need to take time off work to take children to the dentist or for a hospital visit. Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admissions in children aged five to nine years old in 2014 to 2015 with over 26,000 admissions. In 2014/2015 hospital trusts spent over £35 million on the extraction of multiple teeth for under 18s.

At a population, school or early years’ level, the evidence tells us that brushing each day at school over a two year period is effective for preventing tooth decay and can establish life-long behaviour to promote oral health. It is also important that school based toothbrushing activity should promote and support toothbrushing in the home as well as the school or early years setting.

As part of the EYFS we will be introducing toothbrushing once a day for all children - after lunch - from next week. Each child will have their own labelled toothbrush that will be age specific and your child will be taught by the team how to brush their teeth. We will be providing the toothbrushes and will add 50p to each child's invoice next month.

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