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Early years health services

Early years health services

Before three years of age, many children spend most of their time at home with their family. Frontline staff, such as health visitors and midwives, can help parents, carers and other family members understand how important good oral health is and how it affects overall health, wellbeing and development, by:

  • promoting breastfeeding and healthy weaning, and how to move from breast or bottle feeding to using an open cup by 12 months
  • promoting food, snacks (for example, fresh fruit) and drinks (water and milk) that are part of a healthier diet
  • promoting the use of fluoride toothpaste as soon as teeth come through, especially last thing before bedtime
  • giving a practical demonstration of how to look after a young child’s teeth and encouraging toothbrushing from an early age
  • advising on alternatives to sugary foods, drinks and snacks as pacifiers and treats
  • using sugar-free medicine
  • encouraging families to take their children to a dental practice once they get their first tooth and certainly by their first birthday
  • giving details of how to access routine and emergency dental services

What can Designed to Smile do for you?

Oral Health Education (OHE) training sessions can be delivered by Designed to Smile staff to other health and social care professionals working with children. Sessions can be provided for student health professional courses, as well as staff post-qualification as continuing professional development. Contact your local Designed to Smile team to organise a session.

Designed to Smile can help health visitors and other health professionals find dental services for the families they support. Contact your local Designed to Smile team for more information.

Designed to Smile can provide resources to use for oral health promotion, such as leaflets and posters. They can also provide toothbrushing packs and training cups to professionals working in Flying Start areas. Contact your local Designed to Smile team for more information.