First smiles are all important but oral health remains a major concern, with nearly one in three children starting school with visible signs of tooth decay.
Ball Tree Dental Care in Sompting plays a big part in raising awareness and supports the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) First Smiles campaign.
Dental hygienist Christine Supiot and oral health educator Louise Skelt visited Little Rascals Day Nursery, in Chesswood Road, Worthing, last Tuesday to talk about the importance of good brushing practices.
Christine said: “We had a fun time and it all went well. The feedback from the staff was very positive, they said they had learned much themselves and by the children’s response at the end, I am confident the messages were taken in. They really enjoyed dressing up as dentists.
“Ball Tree Dental Care are very involved in promoting children oral health. I have been told many times that many dentists decline seeing children until they are older, which is all to often too late.
“Nearly one in three children is starting school with visible signs of decay. Tooth decay is an entirely preventable disease.
“Teaching good habits and routines at an early age means they are more likely to continue into adulthood.
“By installing the importance of a healthy mouth at a young age, we are not only creating good health for these children now, but the benefits will most likely continue into far into the future.”
The children took part in guided tooth brushing with the help of the tooth fairy and Mr Crocodile, with his big teeth.
The message was to brush with fluoride toothpaste before going to bed and at one other time of day, not after eating and without rinsing.
There were two group activities, where the children learned about swapping high sugar foods for healthier options and play acted a visit to the dentist.
Christine said: “The children really enjoyed this. It was therefore disappointing that so few of them said they had actually been to the dentist.
“It is now the advice of Public Health England, the Department of Health and the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry that all children see a dentist before their first birthday. This is particularly important for parents to gain advice.”
All the children received toothbrushes, tooth brushing diaries, stickers and information.