Paediatric dentists urge nursery workers to promote ‘spit, don’t rinse’ policy for supervised children’s brushing programmes

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Representatives from the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry have urged nurseries that participate in supervised brushing programmes to encourage children to spit, rather than rinsing.

It’s very common for kids to learn to put their toothpaste on their brush, clean their teeth, spit and then rinse, but dentists are keen to get rid of the final stage. Rinsing the mouth removes fluoride, a mineral, which is proven to strengthen the tooth enamel and reduce the risk of decay.

Claire Stevens, BSPD president, said that nursery workers are an important source of information for many children, parents and carers, and providing up to date guidelines can help to banish long-held dental beliefs and habits that may not actually be beneficial for oral health. Most of us learn to rinse after brushing, but this can actually reduce the efficacy of cleaning. If you rinse after spitting, this prevents the fluoride found in toothpaste from working its magic. The BSPD is encouraging nurseries to encourage toddlers and preschool children to ‘spit, don’t rinse’ and the organisation is also working to try and promote healthier eating habits, especially when it comes to snacking. Snacking often involves grazing on sugary foods, which contribute to both decay and childhood obesity.

Tooth decay is the leading cause of hospital admissions among children in the UK, and it’s also a common reason to miss valuable classroom hours.

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