Blackpool Better Start Launch Supervised Tooth Brushing at Childcare Settings

By Hannah Connell

Blackpool Better Start is launching a new programme to introduce supervised tooth brushing in nursery and child minder settings in a bid to tackle oral health behaviours in the community. This evidence-based intervention has been recommended by Public Health England along with their Oral Health Toolkit as a way of ensuring good oral hygiene is established at an early stage in a child’s life and becomes an integral part of normal daily hygiene.

Children in Blackpool suffer from poor oral health compared to the rest of the country. In 2013, 17% of three-year-olds and 40% of five-year old children were found to have dental decay, which is 30% higher than the national average. Tooth extractions for children under 10 are four times the national average and 344 Blackpool children were admitted in 2015/16.

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Blackpool Better Start will this month start supplying nurseries and child minders with training and the necessary equipment for supervised tooth brushing, and will be investing over £12,000 annually to help develop oral health skills in children aged 2-4. The training will include how to brush correctly and how to make it a fun activity that excites children, for example brushing in a circle time format while singing tooth brushing songs.

Merle Davies, Director of Blackpool Centre for Early Child Development, comments: “Improving diet and nutrition is a primary outcome for the Better Start Partnership and this scheme targeting oral health is just one element of an overarching campaign to improve health for children aged 0-5 in Blackpool. 

“Research demonstrates that children brushing their teeth at least once a day with a fluoride toothpaste can have a significant effect on reducing the risk of dental decay. We expect that this scheme will reach approximately 3,000 children in Blackpool and will help instil effective brushing habits for life.”

If you are a childcare provider, and would like to join this programme, then please contact Donna Taylor on donna.taylor2@blackpool.gov.uk or call 01253 476382.

Coverage of the project was in the Blackpool Gazette, which you can read here.

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