Happy Smiles Pre-School Oral Health Programme
Happy Smiles is an evidence-based programme which aims to improve the oral health of children in nursery education.
Research shows that three small steps can significantly improve child oral health. Brushing teeth and gums twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, reducing sugary foods and drinks especially between meals, and, regular check-ups at the dentist are the best ways of preventing dental decay and gum disease.
The three main elements of the Happy Smiles Programme are:
- Happy Smiles Tooth Brushing Programme
- Happy Smiles Healthy Snacks
- Happy Smiles Education Programme
Launched by Health Minister Michelle O’Neill in October 2016, the Happy Smiles programme has been developed by the NI Oral Health Development Group and HSC Trust Community Dental Service teams.
Bringing together best practice from existing programmes, the initiative encourages shared responsibility and collaborative effort between school teams, parents and their children. It enables staff in pre-school facilities to deliver the programme following initial training by their local Oral Health Team. Resources to implement the programme are provided by the team who monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the Happy Smiles Programme each year.