Statistics show that only 20 percent of children have 80 percent of dental disease. And that children from deprived backgrounds are more likely to have problems with their teeth. So if you look after children from deprived backgrounds then doing a ‘looking after your teeth’ theme with the children is especially important and could really help them.
Regardless of whether they are brushing at home or not, when you do your healthy teeth section with children it is a good idea to buy a pack of cheap toothbrushes from a pound shop and check that they are brushing properly. If their parents normally do the “proper” cleans for them, this can be a fun opportunity to try it for themselves.
Many children don’t really understand WHY they should be brushing their teeth. So it is important to be straightforward about the consequences of not brushing your teeth: dirty teeth look horrible, give you bad breath and toothache. There are lots of books about tooth care and I highly recommend getting some out of the library to show the children some of the consequences of not brushing! If you have a mouthful of metal fillings yourself then please shock the children!
If children are brushing twice a day at home then you don’t normally need to brush teeth after snacks and mealtimes at your house. However, if the children are not brushing at home then you could really help them by teaching them this skill while they are with you.
An important aspect of dental care is visiting the dentist. Visiting the dentist is a scary moment for any child. Because many adults are also wary of dentists, and, as it is quite impossible to hide these feelings from children, it is easy to see why children are likely to be apprehensive of the experience. It really helps to tell children what to expect when they visit the dentist. Check out some of the library books and encourage role play.
Note: If a child you are looking after ever loses a big front tooth try to put it back in position. If this is too difficult, put it in milk or inside their cheek immediately. Then go to the dentist as soon as possible. They may be able to save the tooth.
What are the key points I should tell the children?
- You must brush your teeth because dirty teeth look horrible and they can cause toothache. Dirty teeth can also give you bad breath.
- If you don’t brush your teeth you might get holes in them and you might get bad toothache.
- Clean your teeth twice a day: after breakfast and before you sleep.
- Loosing baby teeth normally happens in school age children from reception but can happen earlier. Baby teeth wobble and then come out and adult teeth grow in their place.
- You should visit a dentist every 6 months to check on your growing teeth.
Products that can help you to explore teeth, tooth brushing and visiting the dentist
Be Safe, Be Healthy Pack
Printable safety and health art projects, activities and colouring pages to help childminders to teach 14 safety and health topics including bereavement, road safety, stranger danger, and sun safety and fire safety. Pack includes a section dedicated to teeth, teeth brushing and visiting the dentist.
Find us on social media!
Facebook: Kids To Go
See also: keeping clean and visiting the doctor