Toddlers need to brush their teeth!
I feel funny saying this but, there are some people that don't introduce their toddlers to tooth brushing.
Healthy teeth means a healthy body - so it is very important for the teeth to be brushed at least twice per day.
Some parents have a concern over using fluoride toothpaste. It's OK to use fluoride toothpaste as long as you are encouraging spitting out and only a small pea sized amount is placed on the brush.
Then there is the fact that some parents don't have time for a battle to brush a toddlers teeth. All I can say to that is who's the boss? A good way to get around that battle is to introduce tooth brushing as early as possible and make it part of your daily routine. Parents can model good hygiene habits. Children will emulate parents behaviour, so if you are brushing so will they.
I have always introduced dental care in my classroom. Why? Well it is evident that some children are not practising good dental care by the odour emitted from their mouth and the fact that food can be seen on the teeth - and yes, some children come to school without their mouth wiped after they have eaten.
Practise makes perfect!
Halloween is when I start introducing dental care. Halloween hygiene!
Then throughout the year we revisit the issue to see who is in a good routine of tooth brushing. Which brings me to a great chart that I was privy to through an email contact here at Kreative Resources.
I was given this link to print out individual toothbrushing charts for each child to use at home. I must say I was impressed with the chart - but there was no futher information to present to parents. I felt it required a cover letter introducing the chart with some healthy dental tips for parents and a brief description on how to implement the chart. So I found myself creating my own so that parents would get why I was sending this home. I also would have loved some insentive stickers to place in the areas indicated - showing that tooth brushing had taken place. These could have been offered as a print out or through a mail in offer. The chart also says you win at the end - children will want to know what they win. We as adults get that they win because they have healthy clean teeth but children want something tangible. I always give out toothbrushes in my classroom - but along with the chart there could have been a certificate to print off indicating success.
It was suggested that the children take their chart to their own dentist to show the success they have had - because most dentists do have rewards to offer the children - good idea - as long as the dentist are on board and are aware of the chart and it's value. Again a cover letter to take along with the completed chart for the dentist would be great. This letter could include informing the dentist that this was a part of a school insentive to promote good dental care and a link where we got the chart so that the dentist could also pass the information along to their other patients.
All in all - I loved the chart and the chart was completed by 7 of the 17 children I have in my class. One family asked for another chart, because their son was routine oriented and enjoyed using the chart. Some used their own stickers to fill out the chart - while others simply had their child colour it in. Both well done!