The Labour Party has unveiled plans for supervised teeth brushing in schools in a bid to tackle issues within NHS dentistry.
Sir Keir Starmer has been accused of failing teachers with the new proposals - set to cost £111million annually - which would see schools in areas with high tooth decay supervising the morning dental care for pupils aged three to five.
The scheme has faced backlash from critics who suggest it would be an improper use of time for teachers.
Following the announcement, the chief of the National Association of Headteachers told Starmer it was not the role of teachers to supervise dental care.
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General secretary Paul Whiteman said: "This week we have seen guidance on mobile phones from Government and a new dentistry duty from the Opposition.
"This is not the response needed to solve the crises in school. 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."
The latest figures show that 42,000 children went to hospital to have teeth removed in 2021/22, where 26,700 had tooth decay as their main diagnosis.
The statistics also reveal that tooth decay is the most common reason for children aged six to ten to be admitted to hospital.
Children living in the most deprived areas are three times more likely to have rotting teeth than those in the least deprived areas.
Labour's plan also includes funding NHS dental practices in order to offer 700,000 more urgent appointments for procedures such as root canals and fillings, and a focus on '"dental deserts" in rural areas.
Starmer 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.
The scheme has faced backlash from critics who suggest it would be an improper use of time for teachers
However health minister Neil O'Brien added: "Labour's sums do not add up. They are taking people for fools.
"Keir Starmer's shadow health secretary admitted their policy would not raise enough to carry out Labour's NHS plans. Labour will always take the easy way out with more borrowing and spending."
Shawn Charlwood from the British Dental Association 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."