Here at Watoto PreSchool we actively support and promote good oral health for preschool children. We believe that by working in partnership with parent carers and local authorities, we can successfully promote good oral health.
Evidence tells us that tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste is one of the most effective ways of preventing dental decay. Gum disease can also be prevented by regular thorough tooth brushing to remove plaque.
Don't forget to visit your dentist at least once a year!
Key Oral Health Messages
Brush your teeth twice a day with a family fluoride toothpaste containing 1450ppm of fluoride.
For children under 3 years old, use a smear of fluoride toothpaste, for children over 3 years old a pea sized amount.
Spit out toothpaste after brushing but do not rinse.
Reduce the consumption and frequency of food and drinks containing sugar. Restrict to meal times only.
Visit the dentist at least once a year.
NHS recommend children have a dental check by the age of one.
Supporting Good Oral Health in Day-to-Day Practice
We provide all our children with nutritional and healthy snacks and lunch throughout the day, which limits sugary snacks. We also ensure that the children have access to fresh drinking water all day.
We provide children with milk between mealtimes, and encourage children to use open cups or free flow beakers from 6 months old, as prolonged bottle use can cause bottle tooth decay.
Each term we gift all children tooth paste and brushes supplied by NHS Sheffield.
Around the preschool, you will find oral health posters which helps us promote good oral hygiene habits to both the children within our care and our practitioners. We have also produced an information leaflet for parents, see link above.
The parent carer coffee mornings and WhatsApp group are useful arenas to promote and discuss children's oral health with parent carers. (currently suspended due to COVID 19)
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 the areas of learning:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
The children can 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.
Supervised tooth brushing sessions have been temporary put on hold due to COVID 19. The practitioners will help them to gain an understanding that oral health is an important part of their daily hygiene routine. We also teach the children about healthy and unhealthy foods and provide food activities that allow them to taste healthy options.
Communication and Language
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. Younger children will learn new words and be able to match the words to objects with context, for example, toothbrush and toothpaste.
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. Some of the older children will also practice their writing skills as we encourage mark making in role play.
In the over 3s room 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.
Understanding the World
Children are encouraged to explore the role of both the dentist and the patient through their role play , 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.
Expressive Art and Design
Children can role play dentist and patients which they always enjoy. This encourages them to play alongside each other and to use their imaginations. We teach children new songs, one of which is about how to brush your teeth. 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!
Finding a Dentist
Finding a dentist if you are unsure of your local family dentist,
you can use the NHS website to find the closest one to you.