Nurseries playing at going to the dentists

  • Child practitioners take on an oral health challenge
  • Play teaches children about caring for teeth
  • Home-made X-ray charts of teeth
  • Gentle scrub brushing techniques taught to under-5s

George Osborne’s sugar tax to encourage healthier living, shocking images as hospitals are swamped with children needing all their teeth removed; oral health issues are making the news big time.

The war on sugars, hidden and otherwise, has been praised by dentists and endorsed by the British Dental Association. But we all know it’s not going to be enough on its own.

Now the BDA is calling for a strategy involving parents, politicians and health professionals in a concerted approach to fight tooth decay in the very young.

Make no mistake: Tooth decay is preventable.

Markers for good, healthy mouths need to placed early in our formative years if there’s going to be any lasting legacy from the current initiatives.

Nurseries playing at going to the dentists

Nurseries playing at going to the dentists

Bring on the inspired work of nursery staff that have daily contact with toddlers and are taking the oral health message to heart.

For generations, children have excelled in roleplay. Traditionally it was playing doctors and nurses, which in more enlightened and adventurous times, has morphed into a never-ending array of super-hero make-believes.

With props such as a white shirt, mask and gloves for the dentist, homemade X-ray charts and diagrams of teeth, goggles for the ‘patient’ and toy instruments. This new educational game is becoming more and more popular in nurseries across the UK.

The full roleplay scenario is completed with a waiting area with magazines, a reception desk with a diary for appointments, a chair assigned for the ‘dental work’ and a bowl and beaker for ‘rinsing’.

In the nurseries playing at going to the dentists’ sessions, they learn brushing techniques and what foods damage our teeth.

And they can learn even more from a group trip to their local dentist. A measure the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) recommends.

It’s a great idea and one we shall be talking through at North Street Dental.

Under-fives are a great target audience, and we hope that routine daily tooth brushing – or what the NDNA refers to as a ‘gentle scrub’ – will be rolled out at all nurseries.

It’s a comforting thought that for every poor child undergoing the trauma of fillings or even extraction, there are many more under-fives learning good brushing techniques and fostering healthy attitudes to food that should set them up for life.

Interesting isn’t it, that all nurseries already serve water and milk, not pop, to children. First years practitioners understand that water and milk are the only safe drinks for young teeth. They are educated in dental health as it is part of their training and that learning is now finding very practical applications.

We just want to say a big ‘thank you’ for the great work that has begun in helping young smiles last a lifetime.

Nurseries playing at going to the dentists