A successful project which has led to more children brushing their teeth in Sheffield is set to be rolled out to nurseries and schools across the city, this April.
Figures from Public Health England show that, in Sheffield, the average five-year-old child has one decayed, missing or filled tooth. This is slightly above the national average.
The tooth brushing scheme has been running in 26 primary schools and nurseries since 2014. Nurseries and schools are provided with the free toothbrushes and toothpaste as well training, information and the skills they need, to ensure that children learn about the importance of regularly brushing their teeth from an early age.
Now, tooth brushing clubs are to be set up at 40 additional schools and nurseries across the city, as a partnership between Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Teaching Hospital Trust’s oral health promotion team..
Annie Farrell, Nursery Manager at Meynell Nursery in Southey Green, has been running a tooth brushing club since 2014. She said: “We encourage all the children at nursery to clean their teeth every day before they eat. We talk to the children about the importance of tooth brushing and parents have told us that children have been eager to clean their teeth at home.
“Last year we worked with a family whose little boy refused to clean his teeth at home. After working on this in stages at toothbrush club, he started to do this at home too.”
Each year the nursery also runs a session for parents, to explain what is done in tooth brushing club and to support parents in their understanding of good practice.
Annie added: “The children really enjoy this activity. Some of their recent comments include ‘it’s fun and makes me happy’ and ‘it makes my teeth shine.”
Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council, said: “There is no doubt that getting all children into a good tooth brushing routine can prevent decay and ultimately save teeth.
“I’m so pleased that brushing clubs are being extended to 40 more schools and nurseries across the City – it’s great that more children will be helped to get into the habit of brushing their teeth.
“This project is partnership working at its best; the Council, health services and schools working together to encourage children and families to brush! brush! brush!”
Jim Rutherford, a dentist at Pitsmoor Dental Health Centre said: ““I often see the worst problems with children who constantly consume food and drinks with a high sugar content.”
“Tooth brushing clubs help to reinforce the importance of good brushing and a low sugar diet to children and their parents. We always advise brushing 2 times a day for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste and to avoid sugary snacks and drinks. As well as this it is essential for children to regularly visit their own dentist for routine checkups.”