Tooth decay in young children is on the rise and nursery staff are trying to change that.
The cost of removing teeth in hospital has risen by 66% since 2011 according to the British Dental Association.
However, although there may be children going through the discomfort of having fillings or extractions, there are many other children learning the basics of good dental hygiene through their families and their nurseries.
Along with childhood obesity, the numbers regarding tooth decay are rising, not falling, and the availability of high sugar content food and drinks is more prominent than ever. The new Sugar Tax may have an affect but the BDA doubts it will be sufficient. They are calling for parents, professionals, politicians and child-carers to work on teaching children the value of healthy teeth.
The Local Government Association has spoken up about how there should be greater availability for water in nurseries, schools and colleges. Nurseries in particular as water and milk is the only recommended drink for young teeth. This is something that nursery staff are aware of. This is evident in the expansion of free nursery places for two-three and four-year-olds over the past few years and the forthcoming increase of 30 hours of free childcare for working parents. This gives the staff a suitable chance to teach kids about brushing their teeth. Staff are being encouraged to spend time and effort helping children to perfect the art of the ‘gentle scrub’. This recognised and toddler-friendly method of brushing involves holding the brush at 45 degrees, aiming it at the neck of the tooth where it meets the gum, and using short, horizontal movements.
Last months NDNA Healthy Body Happy Me campaign aimed to promote health and hygiene to thousands of children in nursery. Along with teaching good habits and discussing them with parents, nursery staff have been encouraged to “play dentists”. With props like a white shirt, mask and gloves for the dentist, homemade x-ray charts and diagrams of teeth, goggles for the patient and toy instruments, and under guidance from a practitioner, kids can learn a lot just solely from playing a game. Another recommended NDNA measure is a group trip to their local dentist. Or even a visit from a dental nurse or dentist who can come and explain their job and how they help.
It’s all about teaching the next generation how to keep themselves healthy and happy and that’s important. Would you use these methods with your children?