Head teachers call for parents to take responsibility for their children’s oral health

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Head teachers have called for parents to take responsibility for their children’s oral health amid calls to supervise teeth cleaning in schools.

Russel Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, is worried that teachers already have a lot to do without taking responsibility for children’s dental hygiene. Mr Hobby said that it should be the parents’ job to teach their child how to brush their teeth and supervise them brushing at home, but the problem is that many children have parents who are not willing to do this and this create a situation where you ask yourself whether teachers should be spending time helping children to look after their teeth or whether this is an issue, in which wider society should be intervening.

Last year, NICE issued guidelines urging schools and nurseries to provide supervised cleaning sessions, but teachers are concerned that this should be a role for parents, rather than teaching staff.

General secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Brian Lightman, suggested that teeth cleaning should really be something that is done at home and called for public health campaigns to target parents, rather than schools. He claims that teaching children to brush their teeth and taking them to see a dentist are the responsibility of parents.

Mr Hobby suggested that targeting schools was an easy route to go down, because organisations are more willing to hold schools to account than parents.

One teacher who has introduced tooth brushing into school activities is Colin Harris, head of Warren Park Primary School; he suggested that seeing a dentist is hard for some families due to a shortage of dentists in the area and said that supervised cleaning has been successful.

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