CDS presents Healthy Smiles certificate to 30 settings!

Community Dental Services CIC has awarded 22 settings in Luton and 8 settings in Oxfordshire our Healthy Smiles certificate, a public health programme which supports children in Early Years settings in disadvantaged areas to adopt tooth friendly practices.

Settings need to implement some key standards to receive the certificate including promoting positive oral health messages to children, employees and parents; reducing the frequency of sugary foods and drinks given to children; introducing supervised toothbrushing; as well as increasing the dentist attendance of the children in their settings.

Results from the recent (2019) National Oral Health Survey of 5 year olds showed that in England 23.4% of children had experienced tooth decay; it was as high as 28% in Oxfordshire and as high as 36.8% in Luton.

Charlotte Iddon, Oral Health Improvement Practitioner and Oxfordshire Manager, who runs the programme in Oxfordshire explains the accreditation process: “We provide training for the settings staff, and then the settings start implementing the healthy smiles standards. We liaise regularly with the settings and offer support every step of the way. Once we have received evidence that all standards are being met, we provide them with their healthy smiles certificate. We recently gathered feedback from our accredited settings, and we are so pleased that they found the accreditation both beneficial to the children, staff, and families and enjoyable to take part in.”.

Sharon, Oral Health Improvement Manager, runs the programme in Luton added: “My role is to ensure key messages around good oral hygiene continue to be voiced and settings work hard to implement key standards. Once accredited, we provide annual refreshers for settings to retain their awarded status and we have many settings continue the programme, so they have been part of Healthy Smiles for years. Although supervised toothbrushing has been on hold due to Covid, a number of settings we work with are keen to get back doing this which is great news!”

When participating settings were asked what the positive outcomes from completing the Healthy Smiles programme in their setting were, the importance of the programme could be seen. “We talk a lot more to the children about healthy foods and the importance of looking after our teeth. It has made us think more about the hidden sugars in some items that the children have in their packed lunches and given us more confidence to explain this to parents.”. They were “better equipped with knowledge to support our families, (it was) very insightful training and made us more aware as a setting of the food choices in lunch boxes and how many children actually were not signed up to a dentist!”.

 

Sue Jordan, CDS Assistant Director Oral Health Improvement added “We are really proud of the changes that Healthy Smiles settings have achieved through a difficult year and congratulate them for making a difference in promoting improved oral and general health with young children and families.”.

“100% go for it! It is the best thing you can do for your setting and the children!” was the feedback from one setting.