Promoting oral health

Promoting oral health in early years is essential to protecting young teeth and establishing good habits. 

It is also a requirement of the EYFS guidelines: “All settings must promote the good health, including oral health, of children attending the setting.”


Little Hands promotes good oral health by providing a range of activities for children to participate in which encourages a good understanding of looking after teeth. Routine is a huge part of early years life and provides a great opportunity to role model and practice skills needed for tooth brushing. For example, developing regular routines within the setting reminds children that daily habits can contribute to our overall health. An example of this might be spending time outside each day for our wellbeing, brushing our hands before our meals for our physical health and developing positive relationships with others for our personal development. Role play is another incredible tool that early years teams can access to promote understanding. Role play activities such as using tooth brushes to clean the teeth of the animals or dolls at nursery give children opportunities to practice the physical skill of holding a toothbrush in their hands, moving it with adequate pressure and observing as the toothbrush causes an effect to the toothpaste. Looking in the mirror at our teeth gives children the opportunity to make essential connections between these skills and themselves and their own teeth. 

Activities can then be compounded through additional discussions about our lives including trips to the dentist and what this might look like. Sharing experiences with our friends who may have already been to the dentist and how this professional helps to support our overall oral health. 


Introducing your child to a dentist at an early age will help the process of having their teeth checked on a regular basis. Regular check ups every 6 months are recommended to help maintain care of children’s teeth and also helps the child become more relaxed with the process, as it can be a bit scary for some children. Registering with a local NHS dentist service is usually quick and easy and your child should receive free dental care. There are a few books we recommend reading with your child, as it can help the process be a more fun experience for your child. 


Peppa Pig- Dentist trip

Maisy, Charley and the wobbly tooth by Lucy Cousins

Open wide……What’s inside by Alex and helen Rushworth


 Some things to consider if your child is apprehensive about brushing their teeth at home;

  • Brush your teeth at the same time together… talk to your child about this part of your routine and how to keep our teeth strong, practise our brushing and encourage your child by saying things like “I like it when we brush our teeth together”
  • Once teeth are brushed then follow up with additional parts of your routine and compare how those things are also positive such as bedtime stories, splashing in the bath, breakfast time together in the morning or movie nights on a Saturday
  • Being independent is great, so encourage your child to have a go first and then check to make sure it’s been thorough and give lots of praise like “well done! Great brushing! Your teeth are so clean!” if this is started as early as possible in a child’s life, you can allow them greater independence from an earlier age
  • Apps and timers are available to support children visually with the appropriate amount of time to brush teeth for
  • Being able to look in the mirror while brushing might support a child to observe what they are doing, which teeth they are brushing and how they need to manipulate the toothbrush to reach their whole mouth
  • Children enjoy choice, so when purchasing their next toothbrush you could choose 2 colours and let your child choose between these colours to increase their excitement or ease with this part of their day

Good oral health is also promoted throughout mealtimes at Little Hands. For example, processed sugar is monitored very closely within our menus to ensure that children do not consume excessive levels of sugar throughout the day. Children are offered a wide range of fruit for weekly snack but this is also balanced with a range of vegetables for a naturally lower sugar option for 

balance. Food which provides a wide range of nutritional benefits is planned throughout the menu such as cheese, natural yoghurt, leafy greens, meat and water. Children are encouraged to drink milk at snack times and water throughout the day to further support the development of strong teeth and positive habits. Little hands provide water stations in each room and children are encouraged to use open top cups rather than teat style bottles for drinks to encourage good oral health and independence. Being comfortable to use an open top cup ensures that teeth are not impacted by the drinking vessel and normal teeth growth and development can continue unobstructed. Dummies and comforters are always available to children who need them throughout the day. However, our team are also aware of promoting unobstructed positive oral health and will try to limit excessive use of dummies or items within a child’s mouth to continue with this commitment as well as encouraging maximum communication, language and speech development.


102-104 Brettell Lane, Amblecote, West Midlands, DY8 4BS

T: 01384 441441

Nursery Manager: Lara Owen & Bev Ramsell

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The Sunday School, 2 Chapel Street, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B60 2BQ

T: 0121 820 7119

Nursery Manager: Emma Gerrish

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Nursery Block Heart Of Worcestershire College School Drive Bromsgrove Worcestershire B60 1PQ

T: 0121 824 4697

Nursery Manager: Clare Fereday

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16-18 Hagley Road, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 1PS

T: 01384 396920

Nursery Manager: Lara Owen & Lucy Brettle

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little hands Stourbridge map