Dental Buddy: Promoting oral health in the UK’s children

May 5, 2015

In classrooms across the UK, there are a surprising number of children and young people who share one thing in common: despite only having recently developed their adult teeth, they are already starting to show signs of tooth decay. That’s right: it is estimated by the British Dental Health Foundation that up to 8 or 9 children in each primary level class has been unable to maintain their oral hygiene to the standard needed to fend off tooth decay. This shocking statistic highlights the importance of the early education and support needed to enable the children and young people of the UK to develop healthy oral hygiene routines for life. So what can we do?

The British Dental Health Foundation has a launched a scheme in response to the statistics regarding juvenile tooth decay. Their programme is called ‘Dental Buddy’ and is open and available to all across the UK, and is a programme we can all get involved in in one way or another. The underlying aim is to build stronger relationships between education providers and health professionals. If stronger relationships are in place, it is hoped that this will empower teachers to offer higher quality education in the classroom, with more partnership working with local dentists.

There are three underlying oral health tips that Dental Buddy promotes; why not reinforce these at home with your children?

  • Brush your teeth twice per day, and for at least two minutes on each occasion. It’s important to use a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Monitor your diet and keep sugary foods and drinks to a minimum.
  • Visit your dentist regularly, in line with their recommendations.

The Dental Buddy programme offers a number of resources designed to help education professionals work with their classes to develop knowledge and skills. The resources are separated out according to age group: Early Years, Key Stage One and Key Stage Two. This way it should be straightforward for teachers to identify the most appropriate resources for their class. As well as activity sheets and interactive presentations, the Dental Buddy website also features full lesson plans which are ready to go. All of these resources are freely available, and can be downloaded from .

Perhaps you are the parent or grandparent of a primary aged child, or maybe an education professional yourself: Dental Buddy is a scheme that is of relevance to many. Why not take a look at the website today, and help us all to start working towards better links between dental and education professions. Only through education and support can we reduce tooth decay in children and work towards a generation where oral hygiene is a priority.

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