Section 5: Preparing for your toothbrushing sessions

Having been trained to undertake daily toothbrushing sessions, TiD Coordinators will use their knowledge of their early years setting’s daily routine to plan and deliver the session as an integrated part of the day. Accessing parental/guardian support is an essential preliminary, followed by planning where and when the sessions  may routinely take place and where the equipment may be safely stored.

5.1 Gaining parental consent

One of the most important things to do when planning sessions  is to gain parental/guardian consent for each child to participate in the toothbrushing activity. This may form part of an extended consent process for other school/early years’ setting activities.

Consent needs to be continuously updated and recorded on each child’s personal file. Children lacking consent must not participate in toothbrushing sessions.

The tooth brushing programme runs on a positive consent basis, which means that parents/guardians are required to confirm in writing that their child has approval for taking part. The absence of any communication to say that a child is not permitted to take part is not a basis for including a child in the activity.

thumbsConsent can usually be sought either by:

  • Sending out to parents/guardians programme information and consent forms using the school communications system, or
  • The OHI team and TiD Coordinator meets with parents e.g. at new parent meeting or parents’ evening, to explain the programme details and request consent.

Consent forms sent out using the school communications system

See the Appendix for a sample letter to send to parents/guardians to request consent.

Information sheet and consent form provided by OHI team (see Appendix in this guidance)

  • School issues information through usual communication channels
  • After one week non respondents will need to be issued the same information again
  • After a maximum of a fortnight, collate returned forms and school to decide about any further contact with parents/guardians for consent
  • Children with positive consent entered onto a toothbrushing session register

parent-meetingMeeting with Parents

  • Introductions – TiD Coordinator and OHI team
  • Explain why supervised tooth brushing in schools/early years’ settings is important
  • Discuss  key messages  of oral health, remembering the holistic approach to health promotion
  • Ensure that the parents understand the consent forms
  • Ask parents whether they want their child to participate in the programme

If yes:

  1. Ask the parent to fill in the details on the consent form
  1. Provide support in completing the form if required
  1. If asked, offer advice on where the child can access dental care
  1. Ask the parent to sign and date the consent form

If no:

  1. Ask if they want to have more time to think about it or discuss it with somebody else
  1. Ensure it is clearly noted where parents have refused to allow their child to join the toothbrushing programme
  1. For children not represented at the consent meeting, ensure consent is placed in an envelope and given to teacher/assistant for distribution

Ensure that the completed consent forms are kept safely either in school or OHI Team premises and up-to-date.

5.2 How to set up your toothbrushing session

For the daily toothbrushing sessions to run smoothly the TiD Coordinator sets out all the materials needed in the location where it takes place – either at a sink or at a desk. The session process varies slightly depending upon where it happens (see 5.2.2), which also slightly changes the materials required to set up.

Setting up and closing down each session requires a high standard of attention to detail about health and safety considerations and care to minimise any potential cross- contamination.

5.2.1 Materials to use

  • Toothbrushes (one for each child, per term, plus some spares)
  • Toothpaste
  • Paper towels
  • Sand timers-two minutes
  • Mouth model or puppet (optional)
  • Toothbrush storage containers
  • Trolley for storage
  • Latex free gloves
  • Wipes for tables (if needed)
  • Hand washing facilities
  • Household gloves
  • Household detergent
  • Washing up bowl/designated sinks for toothbrushing (optional)
  • Weekly certificate (optional – reward system for participants)

5.2.2 Processes according to toothbrushing sessions location

TiD Coordinator to:

  • Thoroughly wash hands BEFORE and AFTER the session
  • Cover cuts or breaks in skin with a waterproof dressing
  • Wear disposable clinical latex-free gloves
  • Collect the toothbrushes from the storage unit, avoiding potential cross- contamination
  • Apply a smear or pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto a plate or paper towel (as appropriate)
  • Children to collect toothpaste onto their brush
  • Turn over the 2-minute sand timer
  • Use the mouth model to demonstrate toothbrushing technique
  • Closely supervise the children at all times
  • Children spit into sink or paper towels and wipe their face

At a sink

  • Maximum two children at each sink in the designated area

In a dry area

  • Children may be seated or standing whilst toothbrushing
  • After toothbrushing, the children can spit excess toothpaste into a disposable paper towel
  • TiD Coordinator to use alcohol wipes to clean off desks

Following toothbrushing, toothbrushes can either be:

  1. a. Returned to the rack by each child and taken to an identified sink area by the TiD Coordinator who is responsible for rinsing each toothbrush individually under running water and shaking off excess water; orb. Rinsed at a designated sink area where each child is responsible for rinsing their own toothbrush under running water
  1. Return toothbrushes to storage system and leave to drip dry
  2. Use individual paper towels to mop up storage system drips
  3. Rinse sinks after use
  4. Paper towels must be disposed of immediately after use and put into a bin bag

Never soak toothbrushes in disinfectant e.g. Milton.

Last updated: September 11, 2015

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