School toothbrushing scheme is a success

May 2nd, 2014


With ever increasing concerns over the dental health of schoolchildren, a scheme running in schools in Brighouse is proving to be a success.

Run by Leeds Beckett University in partnership with South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the tooth-brushing scheme is currently running in 33 schools and children’s centres in Brighouse, and recent research carried out by the university shows that the rate of tooth decay in children aged between 3 and 5 is decreasing.

The initiative teaches children how to properly brush their teeth, a lesson some experts worry is not being taught at home. It also enforces general good dental health habits, which will ensure children can maintain good oral hygiene as they grow older. The programme supplies each child with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

This follows proposals by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in October suggesting that schools help children brush their teeth. Though thousands of children suffer from tooth decay each year, this and gum disease are two of the most easily preventable dental problems.

At the time, Professor Elizabeth Kay of the Peninsula Dental School at Plymouth University, and one of the experts advising on NICE’s guidelines, wanted it to be clear that while a school brushing scheme would be ideal in helping combat tooth decay in young children, it would not be an excuse for parents to not properly teach their children about the importance of oral hygiene.

Dr James Woodall, co-director of the Centre for Health Promotion Research at Leeds Beckett University, states that ‘including brushing in a daily school schedule’ is possible according to studies, as well as promoting good habits and lowering the risk of dental problems in children.

Kath Halstead of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust adds that the successful scheme is providing children with ‘valuable life skill’.

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Categories: Oral Health