When selecting your child's preschool, there are many aspects that you should consider, including cost, safety, and curriculum. While interviewing staff and asking questions, there is one area of hygiene and basic care that many parents overlook: dental hygiene. However, children can get cavities from poor dental hygiene as soon as their teeth begin to erupt. For this reason, it is important that your child's preschool has a method to teach dental hygiene skills while also keeping students' teeth healthy during the daily program.
Brushing Teeth or Rinsing After Meals
One main cause of early childhood tooth decay is leaving food on vulnerable teeth after meals and snacks. Unfortunately, because the ratio of children to teachers and aides is generally too high to dedicate two minutes of thorough brushing to each child after every snack or meal, many preschool centers skip brushing altogether. However, even minimal brushing by your child or rinsing the mouth with water after a meal can help reduce cavities. You should ask if your child's preschool encourages brushing or rinsing after meals or if they will accommodate your child's needs for brushing or rinsing.
Serving Teeth-Friendly Foods
Sugary foods such as juices and sweets can promote tooth decay. However, even natural foods such as fruits and breads can also lead to tooth decay when given too often. The sugars in these foods can often be counteracted by eating foods such as cheese and rinsing the mouth with water after snacks. Your child's preschool should serve tooth-friendly snacks and meals at dedicated times throughout the day and limit snacking at other times.
Teaching the Reasoning Behind Oral Hygiene
Even small children can begin to understand the basics of keeping their teeth clean. Your child's preschool should include activities that encourage dental hygiene. For example, your child's preschool may do science experiments involving the staining of hard boiled eggs in relation to tooth staining and dental care to teach your child the benefits of brushing their teeth. Or they may complete a session on various types of hygiene.
Limiting the Sharing of Utensils Between Children
It is important to realize that the bacteria that cause cavities can be shared from mouth to mouth. For this reason, it is important that children not share utensils or cups while they are at preschool. For younger children, it is important that toys are wiped down with a disinfectant wipe between children, if the children are likely to put the toy in their mouth.
For more information on the services offered by preschools, contact a school like Wooden Shoe Pre-School & Pre-Kindergarten.