Should teachers be in charge of making sure children brush their teeth10/07/2023
THE GREAT DEBATE: Should teachers be responsible for making sure children BRUSH THEIR TEETH properly?
- Labour faces backlash over plans for supervised toothbrushing in schools for children under five in bid to fix problems in NHS dentistry.
- Critics say Sir Keir Starmer’s plans – set to cost £111million annually are a waste of money and teachers’ time. Tell us what YOU think.
Sir Keir Starmer sparked a heated debate when he unveiled Labour’s plans for supervised toothbrushing in schools in order to solve the problems in NHS dentistry.
The £111million-per-year plan would see teachers in areas where pupils have high rates of tooth decay supervise the morning dental routine of pupils aged three to five.
Labour wants to tackle tooth decay caused by poor dental hygiene, which is the most common reason for children aged between six and 10 to be admitted to hospital.
Figures show that 42,000 children went to hospital to have teeth removed in 2021/22, 26,700 of whom had tooth decay as their main diagnosis.
But the policy proposal for a future Labour government has has attracted sharp criticism from those who argue it is a waste of teachers time. Many are already considering leaving the profession due to high stress levels and burnout.
Tory ministers also claimed it would have to be funded Labour says it would be bankrolled by abolishing tax breaks for non-doms, which it says would raise £3.2billion.
Sir Keir said: ‘People are finding it impossible to get an NHS dentist when they need one. My Labour government will not stand for millions of people being denied basic healthcare.
Backers of the move, including the UK’s largest dental body, the British Dental Association, argued that investing in better dental care for young children would be vital not only for the health benefits, but also reduce strain on the NHS.
BDA chairman Shawn Charlwood said: ‘Tooth decay is the number one reason for hospital admissions among young children, so supervised brushing is a no brainer. It’s a tried and tested policy that would pay for itself.’
But health minister Neil O’Brien said: ‘Labour’s sums do not add up. They are taking people for fools.’
And National Association of Headteachers general secretary Paul Whiteman said: ‘We have serious reservations about how such a policy could work. It is not the role of teachers to be making sure children brush their teeth each day. We should demand more than window dressing from all of our politicians.’
So what do YOU think? Should teachers shoulder the burden for improving the dental care of children? Would this work? Have your say now in the comments.
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