Glasgow Smile Time Brushing Movement: Should the US Try It?

The Glasgow Smile Time Brushing Movement
Should the US Try It?
By Dr. Kao Pediatric Dentistry

There is a debate in the United States regarding whether children should be given time to brush their teeth in school after lunch. Some parents feel it is too much for teachers to manage. So the practice has somewhat gone away and instead they are now switching attention to snacks and lunch items for school that are “dental friendly.”

Although focusing on what our children are eating is a great way to improve their overall dental care, shouldn’t we also include the brushing? The practice is still done in most preschools; however, when you get into grade school and up, it all but goes away. Schools are educating our children on many things but not on dental hygiene. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states over 19% of US children ages 2-19 have untreated cavities. Does this make you wonder if we are devoting enough attention to oral hygiene with our kids?

Well, The Brits are waging a war against tooth decay in their schools. One million children under the age of 5 have at least 2 fillings and there is a serious concern that parents aren’t enforcing brushing at home. Therefore they are taking it to the schools. The much-needed practice of dental education in England has a new program called, “Smile Time”.

The “Smile Time” program ensures that children at school will take a break from lessons every day to clean their teeth with fluoride toothpaste under the supervision of teachers. It does seem that they don’t have enough faith in the parents to ensure that the tot’s teeth are brushed before going to school. However, I am impressed that they are trying to manage oral practices at school with what cannot be done well at home. Glasgow had very successful results. Do you think it should be a part of the US school curriculum?