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 guidelines, asserting 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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