Recently on the news, there was an article about whether nurseries and schools should be responsible for checking if their pupils have brushed their teeth!
This was a recommendation from NICE (National Institute for health and Care Excellence) to tackle the ever-rising issue of child tooth decay. Teachers would have to check each child’s oral health before lessons and possibly even supervise them brushing their teeth, particularly in areas of the UK where child tooth decay is prevalent. NICE have said that tooth decay is very high in disadvantaged areas and so these measures should be implemented in their local schools and nurseries.
NICE recommends fluoride varnishing programmes as well for school children twice a year. During my work experience I saw this fluoride treatment placed on all the young patients who visited the dentist. It’s a thick paste that is smeared onto the teeth and left for a few hours (meaning no food or drink to wash it down!) to give a high fluorine dosage to strengthen milk teeth. I found this treatment was present in both NHS and private practices for young kids after every check up.
The article also brought up a common misconception- some families believe that maintaining oral hygiene for children is not an issue as baby teeth are“gonna fall out anyway”. Tooth decay and early gum disease are linked to future oral health, which makes it important to stop it before it’s too late.
I believe it is important to teach young children to maintain high levels of oral hygiene by not only brushing twice a day, but by brushing twice a day well. In some families this idea can be forgotten and children are left to brush without proper guidance.
My previous article about the sugar in food and tooth decay only emphasises the need to teach children from an early age how to maintain what they’ve got. Developing fun and engaging ways to teach kids how to brush their teeth can set the foundation for good oral health throughout life. Games and songs are only some methods to help kids remember every single tooth when they brush.
Overall I am not opposed to the recommendations and I can see many benefits in having this programme, or something similar to it, implemented in schools across the country. However, some schools say they do not have time in the school day and question the practicality of such measures.
Have a read and tell me what you think!