Caring for Our Childen, 3rd Edition (CFOC3)

Chapter 3: Health Promotion and Protection

3.1 Health Promotion in Child Care

3.1.5 Oral Health

3.1.5.1: Routine Oral Hygiene Activities

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 3/10/2016.

 


Caregivers/teachers should promote the habit of regular tooth brushing. All children with teeth should brush or have their teeth brushed with a soft toothbrush of age-appropriate size at least once during the hours the child is in child care. Children under three years of age should have only a small smear (grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste on the brush when brushing. Those children ages three and older should use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste (1). An ideal time to brush is after eating. The caregiver/teacher should either brush the child’s teeth or supervise as the child brushes his/her own teeth. Disposable gloves should be worn by the caregiver/teacher if contact with a child’s oral fluids is anticipated. The younger the child, the more the caregiver/teacher needs to be involved. The caregiver/teacher should teach the child the correct method of tooth brushing. Young children want to brush their own teeth, but they need help until about age 7 or 8. The caregiver/teacher should monitor the tooth brushing activity and thoroughly brush the child’s teeth after the child has finished brushing, preferably for a total of two minutes. Children whose teeth are properly brushed with fluoride toothpaste at home twice a day and are at low risk for dental caries may be exempt since additional brushing with fluoride toothpaste may expose a child to excess fluoride toothpaste.

The cavity-causing effect of exposure to foods or drinks containing sugar (like juice) may be reduced by having children rinse with water after snacks and meals when tooth brushing is not possible. Local dental health professionals can facilitate compliance with these activities by offering education and training for the child care staff and providing oral health presentations for the children and parents/guardians.

RATIONALE
Regular tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste is encouraged to reinforce oral health habits and prevent gingivitis and tooth decay. There is currently no (strong) evidence that shows any benefit to wiping the gums of a baby who has no teeth. However, before the first tooth erupts, wiping a baby’s gums with clean gauze or a soft wet washcloth as part of a daily routine may make the transition to tooth brushing easier. Good oral hygiene is as important for a six-month-old child with one tooth as it is for a six-year-old with many teeth (2). Tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste at least once a day reduces build-up of decay-causing plaque (2,3). The development of tooth decay-producing plaque begins when an infant’s first tooth appears in his/her mouth (4). Tooth decay cannot develop without this plaque which contains the acid-producing bacteria in a child’s mouth. The ability to do a good job brushing the teeth is a learned skill, improved by practice and age. There is general consensus that children do not have the necessary hand eye coordination for independent brushing until around age seven or eight so either caregiver/teacher brushing or close supervision is necessary in the preschool child. Tooth brushing and activities at home may not suffice to develop this skill or accomplish the necessary plaque removal, especially when children eat most of their meals and snacks during a full day in child care.
COMMENTS
The caregiver/teacher should use a small smear (grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste spread across the width of the toothbrush for children under three years of age and a pea-sized amount for children ages three years of age and older (1). Children should attempt to spit out excess toothpaste after brushing. Fluoride is the single most effective way to prevent tooth decay. Brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste is the most efficient way to apply fluoride to the teeth. Young children may occasionally swallow a small amount of toothpaste and this is not a health risk. However, if children swallow more than recommended amounts of fluoride toothpaste on a consistent basis, they are at risk for fluorosis, a cosmetic condition (discoloration of the teeth) caused by over exposure to fluoride during the first eight years of life (5). Other products such as fluoride rinses can pose a poisoning hazard if ingested (6).

The children can rinse with water after a snack or a meal if their teeth have been brushed with fluoride toothpaste earlier. Rinsing with water helps to remove food particles from teeth and may help prevent tooth decay.

A sink is not necessary to accomplish tooth brushing in child care. Each child can use a cup of water for tooth brushing. The child should wet the brush in the cup, brush and then spit excess toothpaste into the cup.

Caregivers/teachers should encourage replacement of toothbrushes when the bristles become worn or frayed or approximately every three to four months (7,8).

Caregivers/teachers should encourage parents/guardians to establish a dental home for their child within six months after the first tooth erupts or by one year of age, whichever is earlier (4). The dental home is the ongoing relationship between the dentist and the patient, inclusive of all aspects of oral health care delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated and family-centered way. Currently there are insufficient numbers of dentists who incorporate infants and toddlers into their practices so primary care providers may provide oral health screening during well child care in this population while promoting the establishment of a dental home (2).

Fluoride varnish applied to all children every 3-6 months at primary care visits or at their dental home reduces tooth decay rates, and can lead to significant cost savings in restorative dental care and associated hospital costs. Coupled with parent/guardian and caregiver/teacher education, fluoride varnish is an important tool to improve children’s health (9-11).
TYPE OF FACILITY
Center, Large Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS
3.1.5.2 Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
3.1.5.3 Oral Health Education
9.4.2.1 Contents of Child’s Records
9.4.2.2 Pre-Admission Enrollment Information for Each Child
9.4.2.3 Contents of Admission Agreement Between Child Care Program and Parent/Guardian
9.4.2.4 Contents of Child’s Primary Care Provider’s Assessment
9.4.2.5 Health History
9.4.2.6 Contents of Medication Record
9.4.2.7 Contents of Facility Health Log for Each Child
9.4.2.8 Release of Child’s Records
REFERENCES
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics, Section on Oral Health. 2014. Maintaining and improving the oral health of young children. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/134/6/1224
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics, Section on Pediatric Dentistry. 2008. Preventive oral health intervention for pediatricians. Pediatrics 122:1387-94.
  3. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Clinical Affairs Committee, Council on Clinical Affairs. 2008-2009. Guideline on periodicity of examination, preventive dental services, anticipatory guidance/counseling, and oral treatment for infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatric Dentistry30:112-18.
  4. American Academy of Pediatrics, Section on Pediatric Dentistry. 2009. Policy statement: Oral health risk assessment timing and establishment of the dental home. Pediatrics 124:845.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fluoride Recommendations Work Group. 2001. Recommendations for using fluoride to prevent and control dental caries in the United States. MMWR50(RR14): 1-42.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2013. Community water fluoridation. http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/faqs/http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/faqs/
  7. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Early childhood caries. Chicago: AAPD. http://www.aapd.org/assets/2/7/ECCstats.pdf.
  8. American Dental Association. ADA positions and statements. ADA statement on toothbrush care: Cleaning, storage, and replacement. Chicago: ADA. http://www.ada.org/1887.aspx.
  9. Marinho, V.C., et al. 2002. Fluoride varnishes for preventing dental caries in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database System Rev 3, no.  CD002279. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12137653
  10. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. 2006. Talking points: AAPD perspective on physicians or other non-dental providers applying fluoride varnish. Dental Home Resource Center.http://www.aapd.org/dentalhome/1225.pdf.
  11. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine.2016. Policy statement: 2016 Recommendations for preventive pediatric health care. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/12/07/peds.2015-3908  
NOTES

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 3/10/2016.

 

3.1.5.2: Toothbrushes and Toothpaste

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 2/6/2013, 04/22/2013, and 3/10/2016.


In facilities where tooth brushing is an activity, each child should have a personally labeled, soft toothbrush of age-appropriate size. No sharing or borrowing of toothbrushes should be allowed. After use, toothbrushes should be stored on a clean surface with the bristle end of the toothbrush up to air dry in such a way that the toothbrushes cannot contact or drip on each other and the bristles are not in contact with any surface (1). Racks and devices used to hold toothbrushes for storage should be labeled and disinfected as needed. The toothbrushes should be replaced at least every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed (2-5). When a toothbrush becomes contaminated through contact with another brush or use by more than one child, it should be discarded and replaced with a new one.

Each child should have his/her own labeled toothpaste tube. Or if toothpaste from a single tube is shared among the children, it should be dispensed onto a clean piece of paper or paper cup for each child rather than directly on the toothbrush (1,6). Children under three years of age should have only a small smear of fluoride toothpaste (grain of rice) on the brush when brushing. Those three years of age and older should use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste (7). Toothpaste should be stored out of children’s reach.


           
                     Small smear of fluoride toothpaste                  Pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste

                             Photo Credit: National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness


When children require assistance with brushing, caregivers/teachers should wash their hands thoroughly between brushings for each child. Caregivers/teachers should wear gloves when assisting such children with brushing their teeth.

RATIONALE
Toothbrushes and oral fluids that collect in the mouth during tooth brushing are contaminated with infectious agents and must not be allowed to serve as a conduit of infection from one individual to another (1). Individually labeling the toothbrushes will prevent different children from sharing the same toothbrush. As an alternative to racks, children can have individualized, labeled cups and their brush can be stored bristle-up in their cup. Some bleeding may occur during tooth brushing in children who have inflammation of the gums. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations apply where there is potential exposure to blood. Saliva is considered an infectious vehicle whether or not it contains blood, so caregivers/teachers should protect themselves from saliva by implementing standard precautions.
 
COMMENTS
Children can use an individually labeled or disposable cup of water to brush their teeth (1).

Toothpaste is not necessary if removal of food and plaque is the primary objective of tooth brushing. However, no anti-caries benefit is achieved from brushing without fluoride toothpaste.

Some risk of infection can occur when numerous children brush their teeth and spit into the sink that is not sanitized between uses.

Tooth brushing ability varies by age. Young children want to brush their own teeth, but they need help until about age seven or eight. Adults helping children brush their teeth not only help them learn how to brush, but also improve the removal of plaque and food debris from all teeth (5).
TYPE OF FACILITY
Center, Large Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS
3.1.5.1 Routine Oral Hygiene Activities
3.1.5.3 Oral Health Education
3.6.1.5 Sharing of Personal Articles Prohibited
5.5.0.1 Storage and Labeling of Personal Articles
REFERENCES
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2005. Infection control in dental settings: The use and handling of toothbrushes. http://www.cdc.gov/OralHealth/InfectionControl/factsheets/toothbrushes.htm
  2. American Dental Association, Council on Scientific Affairs. 2005. ADA statement on toothbrush care: Cleaning, storage, and replacement. http://www.ada.org/1887.aspx.
  3. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. 2004. Early childhood caries (ECC).http://www.aapd.org/assets/2/7/ECCstats.pdf.
  4. American Dental Hygienists’ Association. Proper brushing. http://www.adha.org/oralhealth/brushing.htm.
  5. 12345 First Smiles. 2006. Oral health considerations for children with special health care needs (CSHCN). http://www.first5oralhealth.org/page.asp?page_id=432.
  6. Davies, R. M., G. M. Davies, R. P. Ellwood, E. J. Kay. 2003. Prevention. Part 4: Toothbrushing: What advice should be given to patients? Brit Dent Jour 195:135-41.
  7. American Academy of Pediatrics, Section on Oral Health. 2014 Maintaining and improving the oral health of young children. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/134/6/1224.
NOTES

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 2/6/2013, 04/22/2013, and 3/10/2016.

3.1.5.3: Oral Health Education


All children with teeth should have oral hygiene education as a part of their daily activity.

Children three years of age and older should have developmentally appropriate oral health education that includes:

a.     Information on what plaque is;
b.    The process of dental decay;
c.     Diet influences on teeth, including the contribution of sugar-sweetened beverages and foods to cavity development; and
d.    The importance of good oral hygiene behaviors.

School-age children should receive additional information including:

a.    The preventive use of fluoride;
b.    Dental sealants;
c.    Mouth guards for protection when playing sports;
d.    The importance of healthy eating behaviors; and
e.    Regularly scheduled dental visits.

Adolescent children should be informed about the effect of tobacco products on their oral health and additional reasons to avoid tobacco.

Caregivers/teachers and parents/guardians should be taught to not place a child’s pacifier in the adult’s mouth to clean or moisten it or share a toothbrush with a child due to the risk of promoting early colonization of the infant oral cavity with Streptococcus mutans (1).

Caregivers/teachers should limit juice consumption to no more than four to six ounces per day for children one through six years of age.

RATIONALE
Studies have reported that the oral health of participants improved as a result of educational programs (2).
COMMENTS
Caregivers/teachers are encouraged to advise parents/guardians on the following recommendations for preventive and early intervention dental services and education:

        a.    Dental or primary care provider visits to evaluate the need for supplemental fluoride therapy (prescription pills or drops if tap water does not contain fluoride) starting at six months of age, and professionally applied topical fluoride treatments for all children every 3-6 months starting when teeth are present (3,4);
        b.    First dental visit within six months after the first tooth erupts or by one year of age, whichever is earlier and whenever there is a question of an oral health problem;
        c.    Dental sealants generally at six or seven years of age for first permanent molars and for primary molars if deep pits and grooves or other high risk factors are present (4,6).

Caregivers/teachers should provide education for parents/guardians on good oral hygiene practices and avoidance of behaviors that increase the risk of early childhood caries, such as inappropriate use of a bottle, frequent consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods, and sweetened beverages such as juices with added sweeteners, soda, sports drinks, fruit nectars, and flavored teas.

For more resources on oral health education, see:

Parent’s Checklist for Good Dental Health Practices in Child Care, a parent handout in English and Spanish, developed by the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education at http://nrckids.org/dentalchecklist.pdf;

Bright Futures for Oral Health at http://brightfutures.aap.org/practice_guides_and_other_resources.html;

California Childcare Health Program Health and Safety in the Child Care Setting: Promoting Children’s Oral Health A Curriculum for Health Professionals and Child Care Providers (in English and Spanish) at http://cchp.ucsf.edu/ and its 12345 first smiles program at http://first5oralhealth.org;

and National Training Institute for Child Care Health Consultant’s Healthy Smiles Through Child Care Health Consultation course at http://nti.unc.edu/healthy_smiles/.
TYPE OF FACILITY
Center
RELATED STANDARDS
3.1.4.3 Pacifier Use
3.1.5.1 Routine Oral Hygiene Activities
3.1.5.2 Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
4.2.0.7 100% Fruit Juice
9.2.3.14 Oral Health Policy
REFERENCES
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics, Oral Health Initiative. Protecting All Children's Teeth (PACT): A pediatric oral health training program. Factors in Development: Bacteria. http://www2.aap.org/oralhealth/pact/
  2. Dye, B. A., J. D. Shenkin, C. L. Ogden, T. A. Marshould, S. M. Levy, M. J. Kanellis. 2004. The relationship between healthful eating practices and dental caries in children aged 2-5 years in the United States. J Am Dent Assoc 135:55-66.
  3. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Clinical Affairs Committee, Council on Clinical Affairs. 2008-2009. Guideline on periodicity of examination, preventive dental services, anticipatory guidance/counseling, and oral treatment for infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatric Dentistry30:112-18.
  4. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine.2016. Policy statement: 2016 Recommendations for preventive pediatric health care. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/12/07/peds.2015-3908 
  5. American Academy of Pediatrics, Section on Pediatric Dentistry. 2009. Policy statement: Oral health risk assessment timing and establishment of the dental home. Pediatrics 124:845.
  6. American Academy of Pediatrics, Section on Pediatric Dentistry.2008. Preventive oral health intervention for pediatricians. Pediatrics 122:1387-94.