Oral Health

Oral health is part of the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework.


It is really important to start good oral health habits from a young age. Tooth decay is largely preventable, but still a serious problem among young children.


Nearly a quarter of 5 year old children 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.


Below is some helpful information about brushing your child’s teeth:




What dietary habits can support my child to have healthy teeth and smile?

Eating healthily can help your child to have healthy teeth and gums and not feel embarrassed to smile or laugh. Here are some tips that can help your child to eat healthily:

  • Giving your child regular meals rather than grazing, is best for their teeth The more times their teeth have food or sugary drinks on them the more decay is possible
  • Try to reduce the amount and frequency of giving your child foods and drinks that contain sugar and only give sweet foods including dried fruit at mealtimes - ask family and friends to do the same
  • You can offer healthy snack options such as fresh fruit, vegetables, plain yoghurts, cheese and bread
  • Encourage your child to have milk and water between meals as they are the most tooth-friendly drinks as even fruit juice is acidic and high in sugars
  • Keep all fruit juices and squashes to meal times only
  • Always avoid giving your child squashes sweetened with sugar, fizzy drinks, soft drinks and juice drinks
  • It is helpful to check the label on other kinds of sugar harmful to teeth such as glucose, maltose and sucrose
  • Remember that low sugar' or 'no added sugar' labels do not mean the food or drink is sugar-free
  • Choose sugar-free medicines when you can



When can I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

  • Dental visits are free for children
  • You can take your baby to the dentist as soon as the first teeth appear
  • Visiting regularly will get your baby/child used to check-ups and your dentist can give you information and advice on how to look after their teeth
  • Keeping baby teeth healthy fill the important role of helping children talk and grow as cavities in baby teeth can lead to cavities in permanent teeth

How do I find a dentist for my child?

Find your nearest dentist or contact NHS England on 0300 311223 or email england.contactus@nhs.net