Brush those teeth!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by MissV, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. MissV

    MissV Companion

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    Okay there are a LOT of students at the school I teach at that have terrible teeth. So, since I have a small sink area in my room, wouldn't it be a good idea to have them brush their teeth after lunch? There are exactly 20 minutes between the end of lunch and pullouts.
    And I figured I would have them brush their teeth then, while I read a story. The daily "dentist" would get all of the supplies out. And everyone would brush their teeth by twos.

    Yeah, and that's about as far as that thought process has gone.
    Has anyone else tried this? Is it a bad idea? Will I get sued if I use the wrong kind of toothpaste? (surely it's not considered a drug...is it?)
     
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  3. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    I work w/ dd students.. this is of course one of the skills we work on. I don't think having the kids come up by twos would be a good idea. Things could get messy. Also, storing and keeping the brushes sanitary is a major deal. I know the intent is good, but I just don't know if it would fly in a regular school.
     
  4. athera

    athera Rookie

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    My orthodontist has individually wrapped toothbrushes that have paste on them. You just wet them to activate the paste. Maybe you can look into where you could get some? It might be expensive though.
     
  5. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I have a self-contained class and I started having 3-4 of my students brush their teach as they never brush them at home and it is quite "deadly" when I have to go near them to talk to them. These students have also required a lot of dental work - pulled teeth, cavities, caps... They brush their teeth in the morning and it is part of their morning routine.

    If anyone has bad morning breath - they must brush. My other students who never brushed their teeth in the morning before school began brushing their teeth at home when I told them they will have to brush it at school. But I still have 3-4 students whose parents don't even make them brush their teeth before bed, over the weekend, during holidays...

    I have a restroom in my classroom and this is where they brush their teeth. I do not let my students use the sink in the restroom, other than for teeth brushing. They have to use the sink in the classroom to wash their hands after using the restroom (that way I can make sure they wash them).

    I am not sure what grade you teach, but I guess if you do a tooth brushing unit and maybe make a chart for those who brush their teeth at school?, it might be okay. I don't give my students anything for brushing their teeth - their reward is being able to talk to me from a close distance and my being able to face them because their breath no longer smells. Send a letter home and ask for parents to sign it and give you permission to set this up in your classroom. I would think that you will have to get someone to clean the sink after the last person has finished brushing their teeth.

    I have had problems with the tube being squeezed too hard and I think it is gross when they let their toothbrush touch the tube. I put the toothpaste on their brush. I bought those travel toothbrush covers at a dollar store so their toothbrush bristles won't touch.
     
  6. enseigner

    enseigner Rookie

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    I think having children brush at school is a wonderful idea. Last year I had a group of 7th graders who made my time with them a joy, but I couldn't help feeling sorry for the condition of their teeth. It's not just the unsightliness ... poor dental hygiene is the root cause to numerous illnesses and infections which can develop later in life. Good luck!
     
  7. azteach

    azteach Rookie

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    You have to be concerned with blood bourne (spelling?) pathogens. You know -the video we have to watch every year? The storage of the toothbrushes are a concern. They can't be stored together because of gum bleeding and bacteria. With just a few students, that isn't that big of a problem. With a full size class, it is a huge problem. Those disposable toothbrushes would be great, but costly! Good luck! :D
     
  8. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Couldn't you just do a fluoride rinse? Rinsing after they eat is recommended and this would be a lot easier way to handle this. No, it's not brushing, but the next best thing. All you would need are a supply of dixie cups.........much more hygienic!
     
  9. MissV

    MissV Companion

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    Well I came up with the idea in Walmart actually. They had those giant ice containers for cylinder water bottle ice. I bought two of those so the toothbrushes wouldn't touch. I think I'm also going to get those toothbrush cover caps to put over the heads for extra protection. And I cringe at the thought of the toothpast tube touching their slobbery brushes, so I thought about buying those little tiny thumb sized snack cups (I think I've seen them hold nuts.) for them to squirt the toothpaste in first, and then throw the cup away.

    I totally agree with 2 people being too many at the sink at once....I'm just wondering how long they are each going to take. 20 kids...20 minutes... Do I have a chance at even just getting it done?

    Meh..Like I said, this may not be such a good idea... I just can't stand what terrible condition their teeth are in. It's gross! Having teeth pulled, infections, cavities, I swear to goodness I thought one kid last year had some kind of tongue mold. *creepy*

    Rinsing is a good idea though. I wonder how many know how to rince without swallowing :\
     
  10. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    If parents give you permission why not just have them bring their toothbrushes back and forth each day. I still vote for rinsing instead.
     
  11. mrsnoble116

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    The parents don't get offended when you tell them that if they don't have their kids brush their teeth at home, you're going to do it? I have alot of kids whose breath is "deadly" (as someone put it), but I'd be scared to tell them to brush their teeth.
     
  12. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

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    When I worked for Head Start, the children had to brush their teeth after breakfast and after lunch. We teachers would squeeze a "dot" of toothpaste just inside the rim of the paper cup. The child would take his toothbrush and scoop the toothpaste onto the brush. That was the same cup that the child would use to get a cup of water and rinse after brushing. These were preschoolers, so your older children shouldn't have any trouble doing it.
     
  13. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    I volunteered in a pre k calss that did this...each child had a cup w name and toothbrush on it....they brushed everyday after lunch....which lead to nap so it really didnt matter how long it took, as they finished they got thier mats and went to sleep!
     
  14. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Could you have half of them brush in the morning and the other half brush after lunch? Or if you have centers (ie while you are doing guided reading), maybe toothbrushing could be a center and for those who do not get to it during centers they could brush after lunch.
     
  15. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    This is what I am thinking but I do not say it to my parents like this. I let them know that I realize it is hard to get their child up in the morning, fed and dressed and ready for the bus and that sometimes teeth brushing is usually last on the list of things to do, especially if it is going to lead into an argument (some of my students are on the bus for 45 minutes). I just tell them that it is no problem for them to brush it at school in the morning. Our school bell rings at 7:45 am and my first student arrives at this time. The rest of them trickle in but our day does not begin until 8:15 am, so we pretty well have 30 minutes of morning work and this is an ideal time for brushing teeth. It has become part of their morning routine and they will remind me if I forgot to call them to brush their teeth.

    I even had one student tell me that I should be his brother's teacher next year because he never ever brushes his teeth:eek: and this comment reinforced what I was doing in letting me know what I was doing was making an impact on them (and their dental health).

    I had one student whose breath is so bad, that it smelled up the whole front of my classroom and I had to hold my breath. I started tooth brushing in my classroom when my students began thinking it was 'funny' to blow in each others' faces -- it was okay to blow in someone else's face but it was a huge problem when someone blew in theirs (uggh, the tattling...I had to make it stop). Tooth brushing was a consequence for blowing their bad breath in someone else's face. I did a lesson on brushing teeth, cavities, bad breath.... I had a lot of examples of what teeth looked like when you don't take care of them (I used their teeth as examples). We looked at yellow teeth, cavities, spots where teeth were pulled out, caps... My whole class was made up of boys and they were quite proud of their "ill" teeth, so they were very willing to show it off.
     
  16. MissV

    MissV Companion

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    Well, right now the plan is to teach a unit on brushing teeth. The most important time to brush teeth in the morning, after a meal (ching lunchtime), and RIGHT before bedtime. That way, I enforce the good hygiene that their parents have them practice at home ;) right? I mean brushing at school isn't an alternative for brushing at home!!

    The ultimate goal is to make them conscientious of their teeth.
    If parents don't want their kids to brush at school, I'm not going to make them; but I'm not forseeing any parental problems...yet.
    [famous last words]
     
  17. MissV

    MissV Companion

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    Great idea GlendaLL!
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sounds yucky and time consuming to me. The blood-borne issue is a real one- my gums often bleed when I brush. storage of brushes, toothpaste globs- ooo there's just so many reasons not to do it. Why not just teach a unit on dental hygiene, invite a dentist in, (most will bring free toothbrushes to take HOME) make a pledge card or contract for each kiddo with some kind of prize for a filled in brushing check off sheet?
     
  19. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    I teach PreK special ed... we used teeth brushing this year as one of our self-help skills... we asked the parents to send in a toothbrush and toothpaste the same kind as they use at home. We had started off storing each kid's stuff in a ziplock baggie, but they were getting gross... so we found 5- or 6-compartment wire baskets at Crate and Barrel (I think), they keep the toothbrushes and paste upright and let the air circulate... we just labeled each compartment with the kid's name. We only needed 2 for our class of 8.
     
  20. MissB

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    I wonder if schools or states have policies on this. Someone should find out (where? department of health?). I can see a few students needing to brush their teeth at school (at my school- they go to the nurse to brush), but the whole class--storage of brushes and contamination seems like it could be an issue.

    Each students should have his own mini-tube of paste. Or at least the dixie cup idea. Everything should be labeled and stored separately. They absolutely should not be sharing a tube. That's a fast way to spread infection.

    I love the idea though. It's an important hygiene issue. Some kids aren't taught at home.
     
  21. MissB

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    http://www.pgschoolprograms.com/oral_care/

    Crest has a program for 1st grade classes to order (for free). Crest will ship enough for the number of students enrolled in the school's first grade class.

    I haven't ordered any- and haven't read the fine print, but it might be worth looking into if you are a first grade teacher interested in dental hygiene.
     
  22. MissB

    MissB Companion

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    There is also a link for "teacher resources" that has some printables.
     
  23. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    I remember when I was in elementary school we brushed our teeth after lunch, and did a flouride rinse once a week. (I was in a small Christian school) The parents had to sign a consent for the flouride rinse, and we didn't brush with toothpaste. I remember they sprayed some sort of cinamon tasting liquid on the brushes. I think the idea was that it was better to brush without toothpaste and dislodge any stuck food, than not at all. Of course, I am rememberin all this from a kid's point of view. Not sure how the teachrs felt about all this.
     
  24. AZKinderTchr

    AZKinderTchr Comrade

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    I thought I was the only one!! We didn't brush but we had that weekly fluoride rinse too! I hated it of course because it didn't taste well but once a week it came around in dixie cups and we would swish away. At 30 I have yet to ever have a cavity so I guess it did it's job.
     
  25. Steph-ernie

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    Exactly! We always tried to convince our parents to NOT sign the consent form. Of course, it never worked for me - I guess my mom knew best, because I also have never had a cavity!
     
  26. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    You can put toothpaste on a sheet of wax paper and swab each one. You have to remember to make sure each toothbrush does not touch another one!
     
  27. Brenda S.

    Brenda S. Comrade

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    I wonder if you could do some sort of Q-tip with a dot of toothpaste. Then throw it away. I don't know - just a thought.

    Or maybe teach them to floss. Pass out mint floss, use it, throw it away.
     
  28. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

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    This was the easiest, cheapest way that we found to set out toothpaste.
     
  29. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    I absolutely here you on this issue. Some of my 4th grade students have all silver teeth. And there are times I couldnt help but back away from the breath.

    I am not sure how to solve the problem but I think it is a wonderful idea. I would suggest some students brush their teeth in the morning and some after lunch and maybe even some before dismissal (which doesn't make a lot of sense but it might help get the job done.)

    I think the other two issues brought up--toothpaste distribution and storage--definitely have to be dealt with. I think breaking up the kids into 2 or 3 groups of brushing times will definitely help with contamination avoidance. The dixie cup idea would keep the area cleaner, preserve toothpaste and keep the germs from spreading. I am sure you could have a student helper set up the cups and put the dot on with a bit of training.

    If you use toothbrush covers, why not use the ones that cover the whole brush? Then have the students keep them in their backpacks.

    I would suggest having a student helper be a timekeeper to both keep the line moving and make sure they brush long enough.

    I applaud you for trying this out.

    Will my 7th graders have this issue or will most do it without parental insistence?
     
  30. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    I'm not sure a read aloud would be best with all the movement in the room. Maybe it could be their silent reading time or some other type of independent work time.
     
  31. jeanie

    jeanie Companion

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    Yes, sharing the same tube of toothpaste would not be sanitary. I would be careful to have parents permission to have the kids brush in school...or at least inform them that kids will be brushing. Maybe you could request that parents send in a small tube of paste and a brush for their child only.
    I subbed in a school a while back in which the kids did indeed brush after lunch. Each had their own ziplock bag with a brush and toothpaste. I think they stored it in their "supplies cubby." It was a second grade class and they handled it like clockwork when they came in after lunch recess.
    You could perhaps supply a toothbrush and toothpaste for kids who don't bring any in... maybe donations from a dentist?
    Otherwise, I am thinking that a dot of toothpaste on a cup or on wax paper would work, too. Great ideas.
     
  32. 1stferg

    1stferg Comrade

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    Lakeshore has toothbrush holders. They seemed high to me. Go to lakeshorelearning.com and search toothbrush. They have wall mounts and free standing holders.

    We do fluoride rinse every Tuesday for grades 1-5. You would be surprised how many parents don't want their children to take the rinse. As for bad breath. I keep mint candy on hand and pass it out as a treat as needed. It helps.
     
  33. jeanie

    jeanie Companion

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    Have you ever had flouride rinse? The stuff from the dentist and the stuff they give in school tends to be really strong. It makes me headache-y and queazy and my daughters felt sick after flouride treatments too. I have no problem with the stuff we buy in the store, though.
    I think that the tooth brushing thing is fine. You can just tell the parents that most dentists recommend brushing two or more times a day, and after eating. It's justified even if they brushed at home twice a day on a regular basis.
     
  34. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    We go to the restroom after lunch. Any of my students who want to (usually especially those with braces) can bring a toothbrush and toothpaste to use then. I usually have about 7 or 8 that choose to.
     
  35. ABall

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    colgate has a program called bright smiles bright futures, they have a video and a game and will send out toothpaste samples with coupons for $1 off colgate tooth paste. Each kid also gets a chart to write when whey loose a tooth and their own take home version of the game.
     
  36. ABall

    ABall Fanatic

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  37. Ms.T

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    I'm not sure of the cost, but there's a product called "Brush Ups" that I use all the time at work. They sell them at all major drugstores. It's a little toothpastey finger-mitt thing. It's not actually a toothbrush, but you just use it once and throw it away. It might be worth it for the ease and to get rid of stinky breath.
     
  38. ricksand

    ricksand Rookie

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    I was at the Dollar store today and I had the same idea! They had toothbrushes and toothpaste and I thought it would be great to have them start brushing after lunch. There is such a big push for health and nutrition this year that it would fit right in. I'm not sure of the legality of it all but I've known other teachers that have done it. I don't think it's crazy but I'd run it past the principal for sure. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought about this.
     
  39. Englishteacher

    Englishteacher New Member

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    I wish I could do this!

    I teach high school kids and some of them don't seem to bathe at all! :eek: But I have an idea for you. It's what I do with my own children when they go to camp or whatever. Each kid has a ziploc baggie with the toothbrush and toothpaste (you must let the parent provide the toothpaste -- although you can have an extra there for those who run out or forget -- but some parents are opposed to floride or they only want the natural stuff -- that kind of thing -- also it won't break your piggy bank!). They keep it with their supplies. You simply send a letter home telling parents that, in an effort to teach good healthy habits, you will have the children do an additional tooth brushing after lunch. You are not saying, "You don't have your child brush and it is simply too disgusting for me to sit next to him/her/it" -- you are enforcing a lesson in health that they must learn anyway.

    Having them go by twos might be messy, but I think that you can reward them with not fooling around. My son's first grade teacher did something like that. She had a jar of marbles and everytime a kid did something "good" (Everyone was so neat at brushing today! I'm putting in ten marbles!) she would add marbles and then detract marbles for something bad (only one marble, usually). When the jar was full she'd have a "party" -- which usually only meant that she'd give a lollipop with snack or something like that. My son thought she was the greatest person on earth and because he is so goal oriented, he would encourage everyone to behave so they'd get marbles.
     

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