Oral and dental health promotion for children’s nurses
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Oral and dental health promotion for children’s nurses

Sarah Najim Dentist, paediatric dentistry, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, England
Mohammed Ali General practitioner, NHS North West London Integrated Care System, London, England
Nabina Bhujel Dentist, paediatric dentistry, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To identify the importance of prioritising oral and dental health education for children, starting from birth, to prevent tooth decay and promote overall well-being

  • To be aware of advice that can be shared with parents to improve their child’s oral and dental health

  • To recognise the crucial role of nurses, midwives and community practitioners in promoting oral health in early childhood, particularly as children’s exposure to dentists is usually delayed

Tooth decay remains one of the most common preventable oral health concerns in children. After birth, advice to caregivers predominantly focuses on medical health with little attention paid to dental health. Before discharge from the maternity unit and during future hospital and community appointments, opportunistic dental advice should be provided by midwives, nurses and health visitors where possible, with the aim of preventing early onset dental disease. Registering with a dentist at birth is crucial due to long NHS dental waiting lists. Simple advice on toothbrushing should be offered, including brushing twice a day with a soft toothbrush using an age-appropriate amount of fluoride toothpaste. Mothers should be provided with information on the benefits of breastfeeding for oral health alongside tailored preventive care. Appropriate advice on bottle-feeding and weaning is required, including minimising the use of added sugar, drinking from free-flow cups after six months of age, and discouraging the use of milk bottles at bedtime and in general after one year of age. Written visual summaries can be shared with parents to consolidate verbal advice on oral and dental health.

Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2024.e1498

Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

sarah.najim@gstt.nhs.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Najim S, Ali M, Bhujel N (2024) Oral and dental health promotion for children’s nurses. Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2024.e1498

Published online: 05 February 2024

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