Children crawling at a HENRY group programme

Oral health

There is growing evidence about the impact of dental health on children’s quality of life and wellbeing, and how it affects their ability to learn, thrive and develop. Tooth decay is entirely preventable, but where it occurs it can be extremely painful and distressing for children.

  • A quarter of 5-year olds have tooth decay with 3 or 4 teeth affected (Public Health England)
  • PHE data shows  tooth decay is strongly associated with deprivation
  • Studies show first teeth are more susceptible to decay than adult teeth, and decay in first teeth can cause significant problems with adult teeth when these appear
  • Tooth extraction in young children represents a very significant avoidable cost to the NHS
  • Research shows that habits learned in early life are enduring, so that’s all the more reason to develop healthy oral health habits right from the start

HENRY has a comprehensive early years oral health offer to support improved oral health locally, including:

  • Practitioner Training - Our brief RSPH-accredited oral health training course equips practitioners with the skills, knowledge and confidence to support good oral health including tooth brushing and diet. Practitioners will be able to:
    • Confidently raise the issue of oral health with parents and carers
    • Understand why primary teeth are important
    • Understand the different factors and causes of tooth decay and how to prevent tooth decay in children
    • Deliver key messages around oral hygiene including tooth brushing and healthy diet
  • Healthy Teeth workshop - part of our suite of Healthy Families workshops, this 90-minute session for parents builds their understanding of the importance of oral health and helps them develop lifestyle habits to maintain healthy teeth for young children and the whole family. We can train your practitioners to deliver this locally. The workshop covers:
    • The importance of healthy teeth and why first teeth matter
    • Sugar: impact on oral health and recommended levels
    • Tooth-friendly snack and drinks
    • Effective tooth brushing habits
    • How to make visiting the dentist easy
  • Healthy Families: Right from the Start programme - oral health is embedded throughout our 8-week Healthy Families programme which has the strongest evidence-base of any UK early years programme designed to promote a healthy start and prevent child obesity. Healthy teeth go hand-in-hand with healthy eating and lifestyle habits. This programme takes a holistic approach: it supports improved parenting skills and confidence, better emotional wellbeing for the whole family, improved diet and physical activity, as well as improved oral health.
healthy teeth
Growing up with healthy teeth

What we can do to help children grow up with healthy teeth

tips for healthy teeth feature
Tips for healthy teeth

Following a few simple steps, tooth decay is almost entirely preventable

Baby, dad and facilitator at a HENRY group programme
Healthy Weight

Preventing child obesity with the whole family