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Table Brushing


A program must promote effective oral health hygiene by ensuring all children with teeth are assisted by appropriate staff or volunteers in brushing their teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride once daily.


  1. Table brushing is the required method to be used for oral hygiene in the classroom.  The classroom teaching team will notify Health/Nutrition Assistant if they would like to modify the process.
  2. Each child needs a child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush labeled with their name.
  3. Sitting at the table, after all food has been removed and table has been cleaned, children will brush their teeth as a group activity once a day.
  4. Put a small (pea-sized) dab of fluoride toothpaste on the inside rim of each cup and give to each child. (It is ok if the child swallows this small amount of toothpaste but encourage them to spit it out.)
  5. Give each child 2 small paper cups, paper towel and their toothbrush.
  6. Have a pitcher of water at each table and instruct the children to put just a small amount of water in one of the cups.
  7. Have children use their toothbrushes to pick up the small dab of toothpaste.
  8. Brush together for one to two minutes using a sand timer or a song that is one to two minutes in length.
  9. Adults will model and brush their teeth with the children to set an example and remind them to brush all their teeth on both sides and their tongue.
  10. When time is up, have the children rinse their mouth with clean water and spit in the empty cup.
  11. Remind children to use their napkin/paper towel to wipe their mouths.
  12. Children need to rinse their toothbrushes in the clean water.
  13. Children need to throw away their cups and paper towels and clean up any spills that may have occurred.
  14. Staff will follow the Toothbrush Care and Sanitation Policy.
  15. Modifications may be made to table brushing based on site needs and availability of space and equipment.
  16. NOCAC will provide education and guidance to families on proper dental hygiene.

Forms and Additional Guidance:

This policy complies with the following

Head Start Program Performance Standard:    1302.43
ODJFS Child Care Manual:    5101:2-12-13 (D)
CACFP Regulation:    
Caring for Our Children:    
Other Sources:    


Effective Date:   5/1/17 Reviewed Date:   6/9/22
Approved By Policy Council:   5/1/17 Revision Approved By Policy Council:    


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