Oral Health in Under 5s

Oral health is an important aspect of a child’s overall health status and school readiness.

Every child who has teeth is at risk of tooth decay, but the risk increases for children who are more likely to be eating a poor diet that is high in sugar or less likely to be brushing their teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste.

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.

At Portland Nurseries oral health is highly related to things we already promote, like self-care, healthy eating, and physical development. We support children to be aware of what good oral health means – and help them to understand the importance of cleaning their teeth with fluoride toothpaste and eating healthily. We work together with families to understand the importance of reducing the consumption of food and drink containing sugars and visiting the dentist on a regular basis.

Prevention is the key. Visit the dentist by your baby’s first birthday to spot signs of problems early. For children younger than 2, consult first with your doctor or dentist regarding the use of fluoride toothpaste.

You can also support children’s awareness of oral health by:

  • Visiting dentists or having them visit you
  • Providing or showing toothbrushing kits
  • Showing toothbrushing routines.
  • Help your child brush their teeth until they have good brushing skills.
  • If your child is younger than 6, watch them brush. Make sure they use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spit it out rather than swallow.

For more on oral health for under 5s

Institute of Health Visiting - factsheet


    NHS -Children's teeth


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