Two Stockport primary schools have ended the school year on a high after receiving their ‘Tooth Safe Early Years Setting’ gold award.

Alexandra Park Primary School and Meadowbank Primary School received their awards from Anne Jepson, Senior Oral Health Promoter and Claire Gwyer, Public Health Adviser, in recognition of the fantastic work they have done to help children to look after their teeth. Both schools have made sure that children are provided with snacks that will not damage their teeth and only drink water and milk. They have also set up educational areas for the children to learn about taking care of their teeth.

Staff have been able to access some free online training to help them in understanding the important oral health messages and parents and carers have also joined in by encouraging toothbrushing at home and completing a toothbrushing rewards chart or using the Aquafresh app.

One of the biggest differences has been changing the way birthdays are celebrated in school. Instead of the pressure on parents and carers to buy sweets to send in, birthdays are celebrated with a class singalong and stickers, a special birthday chair which the child can sit on for the day and choose a friend to sit with them, and if they want to, parents and carers can donate a book to the class, to be kept in the birthday basket.

Meadowbank Primary School said the brushing chart and the prize draw incentive had encouraged children who would usually avoid brushing their teeth, to be more enthusiastic. And Alexandra Park say they have noticed that the children are more aware of healthy snacks and choices. They also feel that this change has helped parents, as they do not need to provide a daily snack, saving money and time for families alike.

Promoting good oral health is more important than ever as we know that it is not easy to find an NHS dentist at the moment and there can be long waits for tooth extraction under general anaesthetic. However, tooth decay and the pain that goes with it is totally preventable

Stockport Council is inviting all of our nurseries, pre-schools, childminders and primary schools to take part in the Tooth Safe Setting award. These schools are amongst 27 settings who have already received a silver or gold award. For more information please contact