Parent champions are bringing happy and healthy smiles to Blackburn with Darwen

Published Wednesday 29 September 2021 at 13:39

Parent champions are being trained in Blackburn with Darwen to help local families give their little ones a healthy smile

The Kind to Teeth campaign has been launched this week by Food Active and Blackburn with Darwen Council aimed at training parents and carers with children under 5 to support local parents with advice on suitable drink choices to help protect their little one’s teeth.

The campaign focuses on drinks given to children under 5 years old, promoting only milk and water instead of sugar-laden fruit juices and cordial drinks.

Funded by the Big Lottery, the campaign will be promoted by 10 ‘Kind to Teeth Parent Champions’ – local parents living in the borough who over the next four weeks will be advising local parents and passing friendly advice and support on through social media networks and where possible face to face when attending baby sessions at children’s centres, on how to promote good oral health for their children after attending a two-day training course at Livesey Children’s Centre.

The Kind to Teeth Parent Champions project will be taking place over the next 4 weeks, with plans to deliver another campaign in the winter.

The campaign is part of wider #GiveUpLovingPop campaign, which was delivered in schools in Blackburn with Darwen in 2020 and planned again over the next 12 months.

The ‘Parent Champions’ cmpaign is delivered by parents for parents, with the support of a local authority, children’s centre, school or local community organisation. It uses the knowledge that parents trust other parents for information about childcare, to reach out to those who do not access services and to make sure that information is received by all those who need it.

Cllr Julie Gunn, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said:

Through no fault of their own, families simply don’t realise how much sugar is in some drinks. This can lead to poor dental health and tooth decay.

Our new campaign will let parents and carers help other parents in a friendly and supportive way to make sure children get the support they need to have healthy teeth and healthy hydration.

Even drinks which are marketed as healthy such as orange juice and flavoured water can have large amounts of sugar in them which can be really bad for little teeth.

It is the responsibility of parents to make sure children brush their teeth, but we believe providing advice and support to parents as early as possible will lead to better habits and oral health.

This is about getting families and young children into healthy habits which will hopefully last a lifetime – together we can make sure that our children have healthy smiles for life.”

The early years are a great opportunity to influence healthy drink choices which can have a positive impact on oral health. Yet many young children in Blackburn with Darwen are experiencing tooth decay from an early age – and sugary drinks are a major part of this growing problem. An analysis of over 200 fruit juices marketed to under-5’s found that almost half contained at least a child’s entire daily recommended maximum sugar intake of 19g.

Not only can this have a negative impact on young children’s oral health, but it can lead to children becoming accustomed to sweet tastes which may lead to further health complications later in life such as weight gain, obesity and chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

To combat this, Food Active and Blackburn with Darwen Council and children’s centres have teamed up to create a new project that harnessing the power of peer-to-peer support to spread the message that milk or water are the best sources of hydration for babies and infants.

At the training, the new children’s book ‘Max’s Not So Sweet Dream’ was launched, which has been developed as part of the Pennine Lancashire Healthier Place, Healthier Future (HPHF) Trailblazer Programme.

‘Max’s Not So Sweet Dream’ was developed in consultation with local parents, is aimed at children 4-9 years old and uses some of the key messages from the Kind to Teeth campaign to highlight the importance of eating well to keep your teeth clean and stay healthy.


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