Oral hygiene is very important in achieving overall good oral health. This is also becoming a key aspect on which the EYFS is focusing on in 2021. It is beneficial for us all to have a clear understanding of how to support our children with oral health.
It is said that 25% of children under the age of 5 experience tooth decay. This can be a result of one or more of the following reasons:
A medical condition
Brushing teeth less than twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
Coming from a deprived background
It is therefore important for us to support children with oral health, as their first experiences can have a great impact on the rest of their lives. By supporting them, we can teach them about their mouths, introduce them to good habits and normalise dental visits, helping to put them at ease and gain trust.
One of our aims in supporting oral health is to help children achieve the five "Every Child
Enjoying and achieving
Making a positive contribution
Achieving economic well-being
By working in partnership with parents and local authorities we can successfully promote oral health.
At Chesterton we provide all of our children with nutritional and healthy meals throughout the day which limits sugary snacks, and we ensure that the children have access to fresh drinking water all day. We also provide children with milk between meal times and encourage children and parents to send drinking water opposed to squash or juices.
As an Early Years provider it is important to us that the activities the children engage in help to further extend their development in all areas of learning. Below we have outlined how our oral health related activities benefit our children across all seven areas of learning.
The children have the opportunity to build on their relationships by coming together to carry out activities. This could be during many activities such as dentist role play, sharing their experiences through circle time and other group activities. They will learn about feelings as they consider how visiting the dentist can make them feel. We carry out our oral health activities to help the children gain self-confidence when brushing their teeth or visiting the dentist.
Teaching the children health and self-care is a big part of our day-to-day practice.
We encourage the children to speak about their experiences when visiting the dentist, which is
great for their listening skills, understanding skills and speaking skills. The children also enjoy
asking each other questions and listening to what their friends have to say.
The children have the opportunity to enjoy occupational themed books that are both fiction and non-fiction. This gives the children the opportunity to gain an understanding of oral hygiene routines and some fun facts about teeth. They can also listen to stories about taking a trip to the dentist which will help them understand what to expect as well as put their mind at ease. Children will also practice their writing skills as we encourage mark making in role play.
The children enjoy using the set of large teeth to count how many teeth are in their mouths. This is quite a high number so they often need support with this, but it’s still a great way for them to gain an awareness of number names, which they will often repeat. The children also learn how much toothpaste they need to use on their brush. We encourage the children to use the 2 minute sand timer when role playing or brushing the large set of teeth.
Children are encouraged to explore the role of both the dentist and the patient through their role
play situation, which they always enjoy. We teach the children what a toothbrush is and what it is
used for. The children can also use technology to watch videos about the dentist as well as enjoy
some interactive stories. The children are encouraged to share their experiences of trips to the
dentist, which will often involve them talking about the people who are close to them.
Children can role play dentist and patients which they always enjoy. This encourages them to play alongside each other and to use their imaginations. The children also engage in lots of mark making activities relating to oral health and healthy eating and will enjoy exploring different textures as they do this.
If you unsure of your local family dentist, you can use the NHS website to find your closest one: