Four new tooth brushing clubs launch this month (September 2018) at Norfolk Park Primary, Sunshine Day Nursery, Greengate Lane Primary and Oasis Don Valley Academy to encourage nearly 300 children to brush their teeth in Sheffield.

Sheffield International Venues (SIV) has funded the clubs using £1,000 raised from the sugar tax, a 20p charge added to all sugary drinks sold in their cafes and vending machines.

The launch comes in addition to the 80 toothbrush clubs we have at schools and nurseries across the city which work with over 5000 children. The scheme provided by Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Teaching Hospital Trust’s oral health promotion team provides children with free toothbrushes, and toothpaste, as well information and  the skills that need, about the importance of regularly brushing their teeth.

Stuart McGuire, Early Years teacher at Greengate Lane Primary School said: We’ve had lots of support from parents for our toothbrushing club. They all opted to let their children join it and it’s good to see the children following good practice with their consistent tooth-brushing routine. They’re also learning that if they are going to eat sweets they should eat them after their meal and not before!

Rob Womack, Health, Wellbeing & Partnership Manager at SIV, said: “It’s fantastic that this money can be used to encourage young children to clean their teeth.

“After seeing some information about the levels of tooth decay in Sheffield in my local family centre, I approached the council about using the money from the sugar tax to help reduce levels of tooth decay for our young people.”

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 SIVs sugar tax can be used to get more children to get into the habit of brushing their teeth.”

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “ A great start in life for all children is vital, so it’s fantastic to see schools and nurseries encouraging tooth brushing and healthy eating.

“This project is partnership working at its best; the City Council, SIV, health services and schools working together to encourage children and families to brush, brush, brush!”

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.