CDS to address Ofsted Inspectors East of England on children’s oral health experience and education attainment

CDS’s Assistant Director of Oral Health Improvement has been invited by Senior Inspector Kirsty Mulvaney to be one of the speakers at the Ofsted East of England conference on Wednesday 10th February, addressing the topic of children’s oral health experience and education attainment.

The presentation will help raise awareness of promoting better oral health in children’s early years and school settings. This is underpinned by the Government consultation response to the Early Years Foundation Stage Reforms (July 2020) which CDS actively participated in.

Reducing general anaesthetic waiting lists is a CDS priority and Sue will highlight her vision for all children to have a pain-free, functioning mouth. “Too many have preventable oral disease, which results in dental treatment and possibly general anaesthetics to remove primary teeth. Reducing oral health inequalities and improving oral health in ever more communities is our mission”.

Sue hopes that “Inspector’s knowledge will be improved to understand the benefit of including oral health in a child’s early education (early learning goals); supporting supervised toothbrushing in areas of greatest need (acknowledging that not all children have access to their own toothbrush at home) and to include oral health in the inspector reports.

Good oral health has a positive impact on a child’s health, development and wellbeing; in contrast, children with poor oral health will experience a wide range of inequalities and lower educational attainment, due to time away from social and educational activities due to pain; sleepless nights; low self-esteem etc”.

The conference was originally arranged for 2020 pre Covid, so Sue is delighted to now be able to include oral health after she raised the issues with Kirsty last year. Reflecting on why she feels this is so important, Sue gave a touching example: “A young child attending her Early Year’s setting didn’t smile; when asked she told her key worker that her parents told her she had ugly teeth (decayed). She had never attended a dentist”.

Healthy Smiles is a CDS accreditation programme for early years settings; supporting a tooth friendly environment and daily supervised tooth brushing.