9 June 2020| | 4 min read
Families supported with free toothbrushes and new oral health guide
Vulnerable children have been given free toothbrushes and toothpaste to support good oral health while many dentist surgeries have been closed.
With most children at home and school and early years toothbrushing programmes on hold during the pandemic Newcastle City Council and Newcastle Hospitals Community Health are supporting parents and carers to look after youngsters’ teeth.
'A healthy smile is so important'
Councillor John-Paul Stephenson, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and public health, said: “Looking after our teeth and gums is always important, but with dentists closed except for emergencies during the coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever.
“A healthy smile has such an important role to play in our lives – Everything from eating, communicating and giving our face its shape to providing greater confidence, a positive mind-set, and influencing our social lives, careers and relationships.
“Maintaining that is one of the easiest ways of caring for yourself, so long as you have the tools for the job and the right knowledge.
“That is why this support for our most vulnerable families, and the new informative guide and videos to help everyone improve their oral health, are a great asset at a time when you might not be able to see a dentist in person.”
A healthy smile is so important to our lives.
Watch our video now for advice on brushing your teeth properly - You'll probably learn something new!
Smile - A guide to looking after your teeth
Dental treatment during the pandemic
Dentists have not been seeing most patients during the Covid-19 pandemic as the virus can be spread by droplets and infection is more likely if you spend time close to someone in an enclosed space.
During routine dental treatment, such as a scale and polish or fillings the instruments used by the dental team produce a fine mist or spray, potentially putting both patient and dentist at increased risk.
Dentists only likely to open for emergencies
While the Government has announced that dentists can re-open for face-to-face appointments from Monday June 8, that is only if they adhere to strict measures around personal protective equipment and infection control, and it is likely that those that do will only open for emergency appointments to begin with.
So, to help ensure good oral health continues during National Smile Month, the toothbrushes and pastes have been distributed to those most in need via Children and Family Hubs.
Used correctly, they should last three to four months, with details on how to properly care for your teeth and make the most of your dental items found in the new handy guide that is being distributed to parents and carers, but which has information that is relevant for anyone.
'Much we can do to keep our mouths healthy'
Newcastle Hospitals’ oral health promotion lead, Debora Howe, said: “Reducing your need for dental treatment is always a good option, even more so at this time, when we can’t visit the dentist as easily as we used to.
“There is much we can do to keep our mouths healthy, such as keeping a clean mouth and being careful about what we eat.
“In partnership with our council health improvement colleagues we have put together some tips and films which can help you and may mean your visit to the dentist is just for a check-up to say, ‘You’re doing a good job at looking after your mouth’.”
Download the guide
To download a copy of the guide visit our Coronavirus: Support For People page.
This support for our most vulnerable families, and the new informative guide and videos to help everyone improve their oral health, are a great asset at a time when you might not be able to see a dentist in person.
Cllr John-Paul Stephenson
Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and public health