Bright Horizons Nurseries Join The Battle Against Child Tooth Decay

Bright Horizons nurseries join the battle against child tooth decay

Date: 28 Jun 2016

Five Bright Horizons Family Solutions nurseries across Oxfordshire have been chosen to trial a supervised toothbrushing programme for children under 5 years old.

Smiles4Children is run by the national charity 4Children, in partnership with Public Health England, and seeks to improve children’s oral health. The group aims to create a fun group environment for toothbrushing in early years settings, by outlining the foundations for positive oral hygiene in later life.

Oxford Business Park Day Nursery, Mansion House Nursery, Woodstock Road Day Nursery, Jack Straws Lane Nursery and Bradmore Road Nursery (all owned by Bright Horizons) are each one of some 70 nurseries and 20 childminder settings from across the country, that have been selected to help explore the practical implications of introducing a supervised toothbrushing programme in early years settings.

Work as part of the programme will involve: looking at potential costs; the impact on staff; the resources required; information for the settings; engagement with parents; partnerships with dental surgeries and the projected benefits to children’s oral health.

The findings will be highlighted and discussed at the 4Children Healthy Children, Bright Futures Conference on June 16th.

Sylvie Ellier-Bogue, Senior Nursery Manager at Bright Horizons Oxford Business Park Day Nursery said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to take part in the Smiles4Children toothbrushing programme. Everyone at Bright Horizons understands how important it is that we educate children on the importance of good dental hygiene at an early age, as we know that teaching children good dental habits now will significantly lower the risk of them acquiring dental problems in the future.”

Sue Robb, Head of Early Years at 4Children said: “We have an oral health crisis among our under-fives that is set to get worse without immediate intervention. Provided that children have a good approach to oral hygiene, tooth decay is preventable.

“Nurseries and childminders have been really keen to take part, recognising the powerful impact they can have in shaping young children’s attitudes towards toothbrushing and making it a fun activity they can share with friends.”

Eustace de Sousa, National Lead for Children, Young People and Families, Public Health England, said: “Regular, supervised toothbrushing is an effective way of avoiding so many children in England having to undergo painful medical procedures for tooth extraction.

“Early years settings have an important role to play in promoting public health messages, including the importance of good oral hygiene. By working together across health, education and the voluntary and community sector, we can take the important steps needed to work together with families and ensure every child has the best start in life.”  

Worrying facts about our children’s oral health

  • Latest figures from Public Health England show that almost a quarter of 5-year-olds are suffering from tooth decay.

  • Analysis by the Local Government Association shows that the cost of children’s tooth extractions in hospitals has increased by more than 60% in the past five years.

  • Left untreated, tooth decay can be painful and lead to difficulties with eating, speaking and sleeping.

  • Children who experience early childhood caries are much more likely to develop subsequent problems, including an increased risk of further caries in both their primary and permanent teeth.

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