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Families always have the cash to clean kids teeth…. poor budgeting is not an excuse

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AN experienced social worker rang in to LBC radio this week, his anger palpable over the story that four out of five teachers have given toothbrushes and toothpaste to pupils with poor oral hygiene.
Initially, I thought he was incensed at how the cost-of-living crisis has forced parents to forgo their children’s dental health in favour of heating or eating, but the opposite was true.
Four out of five teachers have given toothbrushes and toothpaste to pupils with poor oral hygiene6Four out of five teachers have given toothbrushes and toothpaste to pupils with poor oral hygieneCredit: GettySome claim that it’s the cost-of- living crisis that's causing kids’ teeth to fall out6Some claim that it’s the cost-of- living crisis that’s causing kids’ teeth to fall outCredit: GettyHe said he had visited “hundreds” of family homes in the lower socio-economic class and feels that, with a little judicious budgeting, there is no reason whatsoever why a child should be without a toothbrush or paste.
He added that, rather than facilitate the issue by encouraging those parents to abdicate responsibility for their children under the umbrella of “poverty”, they should be challenged to do better.
He’s right.
Part of the problem is the middle-class liberals who, well-meaning or merely virtue-signalling, exacerbate the problem by noisily claiming that it’s the cost-of- living crisis causing kids’ teeth to fall out, rather than acknowledge certain parents are failing to teach them basic hygiene.
I’m a bad mum - I don’t clean my son’s teeth every day Super hi-tech toothbrush that cleans your teeth in three SECONDS unveiled
For every home where a child pitches up at school unwashed, unfed and with such poor oral hygiene that they become socially excluded, there’s another family in exactly the same economic circumstances whose child is looked after.
My own childhood wasn’t exactly Angela’s Ashes, but I had a bath once a week in a tin tub brought in from the shed, we had an outside loo, very little money and no state help.
Around the age of 12, my “bedroom” was behind a screen in the living room of our one-bed rental above a WH Smith.
Today, that would be classed as “poverty”.

But it didn’t feel that way at the time.
I was loved, taught right from wrong, had my hair brushed neatly whether I liked it or not, and never went without a toothbrush.
Go to India’s Mumbai slums and you’ll see young children in gleaming-white school shirts, hair and teeth brushed.
So if their parents can manage it . . . 
The same social worker suggested that the real issue at play is poor budgeting — and his frustration that these skills have been repeatedly taught to the relevant families but not used was palpable.
Look, there’s no judgment here.
Nightly takeaways
Living hand-to-mouth when food prices are rising, energy companies are ramping up bills and it’s freezing cold outside is bloody hard and anyone not in that position should — and mostly do — help in any way they can.
But using economics to excuse lazy parenting that has little to do with circumstance isn’t helpful at all.
There are food banks to help alleviate hardship, and websites such as Freecycle and Nextdoor offer loads of free help from your local community — be it a kitchen table or sofa up for grabs.
But the basics of potty-training, washing hair and brushing teeth have nothing to do with money or lack of it.
If a kid persistently arrives at school in an unfed, unwashed state, the first place to look should be the mental health of the mum/dad, who could be depressed or a drug abuser with little or no capacity to cope with the basics of parenting.
If that’s the case, the state should throw everything at the situation in a bid to protect the child.
But the harsh truth is that there are plenty of homes where this isn’t the case.
Nor is money so scarce that the parent can’t smoke, buy nightly takeaways or invest in a widescreen TV with a Sky Sports subscription.
In those cases, there’s a couple of quid spare to buy their child a toothbrush and paste — they just haven’t bothered.
And expecting teachers to do it for them serves only to enable parental laziness.
I WAS sad and surprised to learn that Vanessa Feltz has split from long-term fiancé Ben Ofoedu.
Sad because they always seemed like such a happy couple who genuinely enjoyed each other’s company, and surprised because he never struck me as the cheating kind.
Vanessa Feltz has split from long-term fiancé Ben Ofoedu6Vanessa Feltz has split from long-term fiancé Ben OfoeduCredit: bigbenofoedu/InstagramBut Vanessa is one of the most open and honest people you could wish to meet.
She wears her heart on her sleeve and, consequently, will process and dispense with any hurt very swiftly indeed, and carry on like the true life force she is.
She’s smart enough to know that the greatest revenge when someone has treated you so shabbily is to simply get on with your life and be happy.
SCRUBBING the kitchen uses up more calories than dancing, says a survey by, natch, a cleaning company.
Not as much fun, though, is it?
EXCELLENT Netflix documentary Don’t F*** With Cats follows the work of “amateur” online sleuths who helped nail Canadian murderer Luka Magnotta.
But it’s a rare victory from the online world, where conspiracy theorists share their often unsubstantiated but strongly expressed opinions on cases such as the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Trolls are at it again following the disappearance of Nicola Bulley while she was out walking her dog6Trolls are at it again following the disappearance of Nicola Bulley while she was out walking her dogCredit: PAOpinions that, if I wrote them here, I would likely be sued for.
Now they’re at it again following the disappearance of Nicola Bulley while she was out walking her dog.
The police are getting it in the neck for not doing enough, her family are being trolled, and people who haven’t spent years studying and practising criminology or forensics suddenly think they know far more than people who have.
They don’t.
So let the professionals get on with the job, and leave the family alone.
PRINCE HARRY will reportedly make a whistlestop 48-hour trip to Britain for his father’s Coronation on May 6.
Blink and you’ll miss him.

FORMER PM (for three seconds) Liz Truss has acknowledged that her Chancellor and friend Kwasi Kwarteng was acting on her wishes with his disastrous “mini-Budget”, and that sacking him sealed her political fate.
After all, everyone makes mistakes, but throwing a mate under the bus for doing something you asked them to do is not a good look.
When asked if she and Kwasi were still on speaking terms, she dodged the question.
We’ll take that as a no.
Thank your lucky stars
THE cost-of-living crisis, multiple strikes, gridlock traffic jams in so many cities, increasing cases of scams and theft, knife crime, callous energy firms literally breaking into people’s homes to install meters, etc, etc.
Living in the UK right now, it’s very easy to wake up each morning and moan about our lot.
But then we switch on the news to see the earthquake devastation wreaked on families living on the border of Turkey and Syria, and we thank our lucky stars that we live here.

NOVELIST Anthony Horowitz has had his latest novel tweaked by “sensitivity readers” to remove the word scalpel.
Why? Because they claim a word suggestive of scalping is offensive to Native Americans.
But scalpel actually comes from the Latin word “scalpere”, meaning “to cut or scratch”.
There are perhaps two issues at play here.
First, that “sensitivity readers” actively seek offence to justify their existence.
And second, those with a veto over the work of a ferociously intelligent, highly accomplished author like Horowitz are perhaps just a bit thick.
Matt’s on thin ice
MATT HANCOCK and girlfriend Gina Coladangelo made a “surprise” appearance rinkside at Dancing On Ice last weekend.
Given his I’m A Celeb stint and forthcoming Celebrity SAS appearance, will this be the former Health Secretary’s next celebrity outing?
After all, he’s been skating on thin ice for the past couple of years so already has an advantage.

ACTRESS Amanda Barrie has revealed she was “commissioned” by fellow thesp James Robertson Justice to take the virginity of Prince Charles, then a 16-year-old at Gordonstoun school.
“I had to say ‘no’,” says Amanda, who was 26 at the time.
Tesco has made a big change to loo roll - and customers are not happyI’m a traveller & my easy 80p Dunelm hack gets grimey windows sparkling clean
Amanda Barrie has revealed she was 'commissioned' to take the virginity of Prince Charles6Amanda Barrie has revealed she was ‘commissioned’ to take the virginity of Prince CharlesCredit: RexAmanda was 'commissioned' by fellow thesp James Robertson Justice6Amanda was ‘commissioned’ by fellow thesp James Robertson JusticeCredit: RexIt follows Prince Harry’s revelation he lost his virginity at 16 to an “older woman” (19) in a field at the back of a pub.
It’s nice to know Harry enjoyed a teenage rite of passage in privacy, but how sad that it was him who kissed and told.

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