It is a parent’s duty to make sure her children are kept safe and healthy during their daily activities, whether they are at school, church, a playgroup, or another environment. This is especially true when it comes to oral health – an area that is often overlooked in group settings. Anytime a child brushes his teeth in a class or group, he is at risk for contamination from other children or the environment itself. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed a series of recommendations that parents should look for in their child’s school or play setting:
• Each child should have his or her own toothbrush that is clearly labeled with a full name or other precise identification. Children should not be allowed to share or touch each other’s brushes.
• To prevent contamination of the toothpaste tube, an adult should apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to a piece of wax paper before dispensing it onto a child’s brush.
• Children should be helped to store their brush in an upright position, separated from other brushes.
• Rinsing should be done with individual paper cups that are not shared or used more than once. The cups should then be disposed of properly after each use.
Parents can help keep their children healthy and safe in group environments by teaching them about the importance of oral hygiene and the ways germs can be shared. As long as proper procedures are followed, brushing in a group environment can be very good for children’s oral health because it helps keep their teeth clean away from home. Your True Care Advantage dentist can provide even more recommendations about keeping your child safe at school, so be proactive and ask at your child’s next appointment.