Oral Health

Why Oral health is important & included in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

At Pre-school we are linking Oral health into our everyday practice through self-care, healthy eating and physical development.

Children are have access to resources to enable them to role play about oral health. They brush the teeth of dolls or soft toys. Read stories about teeth and smiles. Talk about healthy food and drinks that help to grow strong teeth, and those that do not. Getting them to look at their own and each other’s teeth, using mirrors.

Good oral health habits need to be formed from the earliest age. Tooth decay is largely preventable, but it’s still a serious problem among young children.

Nearly a quarter of 5 year olds in England have tooth decay, with 3 or 4 teeth affected on average. Tooth extraction is one of the most common procedures for children under 6 in hospital. Extraction is also the most common reason for hospital admission for children aged 6 to 10. Children from more deprived backgrounds are more likely to have tooth decay.

Children who have toothache, or need treatment, may have pain or infections. This can have a wider effect and lead to problems eating, sleeping, socialising and learning.

Useful resources

Public Health England: health matters child dental health, guidance to help you prevent tooth decay in children under 5, including links to e-learning.

Children’s Oral Health: healthcare e-learning, aimed at parents, early years healthcare workers, teachers, nurses, GPs and the public.

Oral Health Foundation: early years foundation stage, how children can keep their mouth healthy and the best way to brush your teeth.

Improving oral health in early years: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Pathways.

PACEY’s oral health advice: includes factsheet for parents.

PACEY’s nutrition spotlight, encouraging healthy eating habits.

Delivering oral health from Public Health England, includes a quick guide to healthy mouths in children.

Change4life children’s centre toolkit from Public Health England, for promoting healthy eating and dental health.