Section 2: Toothbrushing in Devon (TiD)

2.1 Aim of the Toothbrushing in Devon programme

In the Devon County Council area, the introduction of a supervised toothbrushing programme in children up to five years old aims to raise awareness of the importance of good oral health and increase the participation in effective tooth brushing in children. The initiative is targeted at those in the most need.

Ultimately the programme intends to contribute to a reduction in the experience of tooth decay in five year old children and to improve the oral health of the Devon population as a whole.

2.2 Toothbrushing in Devon: an overview

The TiD programme supports early development of good oral hygiene routine by creating opportunities for children to routinely and accurately brush their teeth where they spend most of their time during the day. In addition, it offers support to the nurseries, children’s centres or primary schools offering this programme and also indirectly to the families of the children participating in it. Toothbrushing is a fun activity but it is also important to deliver this in a structured and safe way informed by the protocols provided in this guidance.

brushSupervised tooth brushing at home, combined with a daytime opportunity ensures that children clean their teeth regularly at least twice each day. This is particularly important in children who are at risk of poor oral health. Parents’ and guardians’ support is central to the success of the TiD programme, to reinforce the toothbrushing at home and to provide positive consent for children’s participation. Only children who have positive consent can take part.

The diagram shows the parts of the TiD programme. Supervised daily toothbrushing sessions for children aged up to five years old are conducted by trained staff,
with the sessions taking place in line with local policies on health and safety and children’s safeguarding.


Each early years’ setting identifies a person, or persons to become the ‘TiD Coordinator’. This person has overall responsibility for the setting up, running, administration and evaluation of their programme’s delivery. TiD Coordinators are trained in advance to undertake this role by the local Oral Health Improvement (OHI) team. Regular visits by the OHI team provide on-going support specific to your setting’s needs, with a helpline and website available for additional information and support in between visits. The OHI team also monitors local performance.

All of the equipment required for the daily toothbrushing sessions  is provided (free of charge) for the included children. Should the sessions  be extended beyond the target age group, to promote whole school/setting involvement, this will be at your own cost.

Sessions  need a little planning to go smoothly, especially at the start whilst a routine is being established. Initial planning involves liaison with the OHI team administrator to confirm numbers of children who will participate in the programme. From this, your equipment is ordered, including a storage trolley, storage units for toothbrushes, toothpaste and all the cleaning-related materials needed. New supplies of consumables are ordered from the OHI administrator using the provided ordering forms (see guidance appendix on page 19).


In addition, decisions need to be made about where the tooth brushing sessions will happen, for example, in an area with a sink, or perhaps at a desk, giving careful consideration to health and safety.

Timing of the session is a further consideration, using knowledge of the day’s routine to decide when this activity fits in best. National programmes report that the session delivery typically takes about 12-15 minutes, depending upon the number of children taking part. Additional time is needed for daily and weekly cleaning routines and also for administration.

Once this local structure and consenting process is in place, the toothbrushing sessions go ahead. The daily routine of these sessions  is provided in Section 6.1. Health and safety considerations are of the highest importance, guided by the standards issued (see Section 2.3). Daily administration of which children participate is important, especially if a reward system for sustained commitment to the programme is set up.

From time-to-time evaluation of the sessions  and related activity will be undertaken, by the OHI team. The team is interested in the factors influencing the success  of the supervised toothbrushing programme, which will feed into on-going funding decisions.

2.3 Performance standards

pencilsBeing part of this funded programme carries responsibility for both those coordinating the programme and those delivering it locally. The following table sets out what is expected from all involved and it forms the basis of the performance monitoring that will take place on at least a termly basis. Further information about high quality delivery of the programme is found in later sections. These standards encourage maintenance of good record-keeping to demonstrate that compliance has been achieved.


Last updated: September 11, 2015

Scroll to top
Font Resize