Should Kids Be Taught To Brush Their Teeth At School?

Brushing Teeth Kids Teachers School Decay
Image credit: Flickr/Josh Kenzer

The UK's health watchdog NICE has today issued guidelines recommending that schools should teach children how to brush their teeth.

According to the Daily Mail, "shocking levels of decay" are affecting children, with tots "as young as three" facing the prospect of having all 20 of their baby teeth removed due to rotting.

The idea is that teaching staff at nurseries and primary schools should hold supervised sessions of teeth cleaning "at least once a day".

According to the Director of the Centre for Public Health at NICE, Professor Mike Kelly, many children "are being condemned to a life with rotten teeth, gum disease and poor health" because of a misunderstanding about how important it is to look after children's milk teeth and gums. He added that many children "eat too much sugar" and aren't brushing regularly with fluoride toothpaste. He also stressed the importance of giving children the best start in life.

Unsurprisingly, teaching unions and critics have hit back at the guidelinesasserting that it is the job of parents - not teachers - to take care of children's teeth.

Most worryingly, the guidelines state that some children are not issued with a toothbrush at home and are not taught how to brush their teeth.

What do you make of the NICE guidelines? Would you welcome the introduction of tooth-brushing sessions at your child's school or nursery, or do you think it's something we should not be tasking teachers with? And how do you encourage your children to brush their teeth? We'd love to hear about it if you've worked out some clever way to get your kids to take care of their pearly whites...

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  • Squidge2014
    Teachers have enough to teach during the short period time of time they have children in the classroom. It's time parents took responsibility and if they cant teach their children the fundamental basics then maybe they aren't capable of looking after their child.
  • Carinastorkey
    I let my 2 yr old brush her own teeth we do it every morning and night as routine I don't make an issue of it but encourage her to copy mummy and go side to side and then the back ones. We sing songs about brushing your teeth while we do it and she likes to do it but she can't do it properly so perhaps once a week I will try and give them a blast myself. That's when it becomes abit of a struggle but I try and make it into a game which sometimes works and she laughs at me and I get them brushed. I think children especially who don't have that encouragemt iwould benefit from the education as to why and how we brush our teeth I think they would e more inclined to want to do it.

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