England’s Department for Education included oral health in its “Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education” curriculum for both primary and secondary schools in the country, released in September.
The oral health aspects of the curriculum were developed by Jenny Godson of Public Health England and Zoe Marshman, professor of dental public health at the School of Clinical Dentistry in Sheffield and member of the British Society for Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD), among other experts.
Specifically, Marshman worked with the Department of Education to develop the teachers training module underpinning the curriculum changes, the BSPD said.
According to the curriculum, children in primary and secondary schools alike should know “about dental health and the benefits of good oral hygiene and dental flossing, including healthy eating and regular checkups at the dentist.”
“This development turns oral health into a mainstream topic in schools and will help children understand that teeth are integral to their health and how best to look after them,” said Marshman, whose research focuses on pediatric dentistry.
“We regard this as a giant step forward for children’s oral health. Until now, it was mainly children who were taken to dental practices who were taught how to look after their teeth. Now, all children will receive these positive messages about the importance of oral health,” said Dr. Claire Stevens, spokesperson for the BSPD.
The BSPD wants all children to understand from an early age the importance of caring for their teeth, the organization said, and the curriculum concludes its campaign to teach all children about the importance of oral health.