West Berkshire Council

Free programme helps children to Brush 4 Life

Parents and carers of children under 3 are being encouraged to take advantage of a special free local dental health programme.

Brush 4 Life

Issued on:  3 July 2017

 Brushing 4 Life is an initiative that combines advice on good oral hygiene with a free supply of age appropriate toothpaste and toothbrushes.

The Brushing 4 Life packs contain a toothbrush and toothpaste suitable for under 3's, a leaflet which reminds parents and children to brush their teeth twice daily with the right type of fluoride toothpaste and examples of foods and drinks that are good for young teeth.

In 2015, a national oral health survey of 5 year olds was conducted by Dental Public Health Epidemiology Programme for England. 

It showed that in West Berkshire, just 76.9% of 5 year olds were free from tooth decay, this is below the 79.9% average for the South East region and only slightly above  the 75.2% average for England.

As part of the Brushing 4 Life programme, 242 parents in West Berkshire have already been surveyed by health visitors to get a baseline understanding of how they look after their babies' teeth. Initial findings show that 82.5% of parents were brushing their child's teeth (200 children had teeth at time of survey). Parents started brushing their children's teeth at various times, ranging from 3 months to 12 months old. Most parents were brushing their child's teeth twice daily. Parents will be followed up at a later date to see how they are progressing.
Cllr James Fredrickson, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Public Health and Wellbeing said, "Brushing children's teeth at a very early age is integral to forming good oral hygiene habits and preventing tooth decay which is a predominantly preventable disease. However, we are still seeing significant levels of tooth decay which leads to pain, time off from school and, in some cases, more serious treatment."

Brushing 4 Life packs are available from health visitors or local Family Hubs. Replacement packs are also available from Family Hubs.