Children at St Joseph’s Primary School in Northern Ireland have received a visit from Michaela ONeill, President of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, to help them take steps to eliminate tooth decay.
In the afternoon of February 3, Michaela stopped by the school in Country Antrim to give children the knowledge and skills to help maintain good oral health – lessons they can take through into adulthood.
Children took part in brushing demonstrations, fun activities and were all given guidance and tuition on how to brush their teeth correctly. They were also given toothbrushes, toothpaste and a reward chart to take home with them which were kindly donated by Procter & Gamble (Oral B).
Michaela said: “Having the chance to teach young children about the importance of their oral health and show them about basic oral hygiene is an excellent opportunity to give them the skills they need to take care of their teeth throughout the rest of their life.
“The afternoon was really fun and exciting. It was great to see the children engage with the activities and show the enthusiasm to learn about their teeth. Hopefully they will take away some of the things we did and incorporate them into their daily oral health routines."
According to findings from the last survey of Children’s Dental Health, children in Northern Ireland have been shown to have some of the poorest levels of oral health compared to other regions of the United Kingdom.
“With regards to primary teeth, Northern Ireland had the highest proportion of five-year olds and eight-year-olds with obvious decay experience, decay into dentine and fillings in primary teeth, compared to England and Wales. It is stating the obvious but something needs to be done about these figures, and the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy will be doing all they can to tackle this ultimately preventable problem.
“On behalf of the society we are concerned by the level of tooth decay in children across the UK and we would like to raise awareness of how to prevent this disease. As part of the schools Early Years curriculum, our members will volunteer their time to help teach correct methods of oral hygiene suitable for each child.
“The basic messages of good oral hygiene are simple, but so many children, especially those in more deprived areas of the UK, don’t even get these. It is a challenge but one I and we as a society are looking forward to.”
Frances McKinley, Principal of St Joseph’s Primary School said: “At Saint Joseph’s we are committed to promoting healthy lifestyles among our children. Attention to oral health and the promotion of healthy habits in terms of oral hygiene and healthy eating are an important aspect of this. The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy have been working with our foundation stage teachers in trying to achieve this.”