Oral Health Education Activities

The resource materials listed below will help Head Start staff and others provide oral health education to children, pregnant women, and families. Topics include dental visits, fluoride, nutrition, oral health care, oral hygiene, and safety and emergency first aid.

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Be an Oral Health Champion

Head Start staff can use this booklet and poster to learn about the problems children with poor oral health might have. Find ideas for promoting oral health and preventing oral disease in young children.

Booklet [PDF, 209KB]
Poster [PDF, 191KB]

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Brush Up on Oral Health

This newsletter series provides Head Start staff with information on current practice and practical tips for promoting good oral health. Visit Cook's Corner for simple recipes for healthy snacks. Health and social service professionals may also find the newsletter helpful.

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Choose and Use: Head Start Oral Health Curricula

Use this guide to find information about oral health-related curricula that may be used in Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Users can search by audience, topics, and availability to find the curriculum that works best for them.

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Cook's Corner: Recipes for Healthy Snacks [PDF, 632KB]

Find recipes for delicious healthy snacks that children can make as a class project or at home with their families. Recipes are collected from the Brush Up on Oral Health newsletter between September 2012 and April 2014. Available in Spanish (español) [PDF, 748KB].

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Get the Facts About Oral Health [PDF, 487KB]

Many myths about the oral health of infants, young children, and pregnant women exist. Get the facts in this infographic. Available in Spanish (español) [PDF, 498KB].

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Health Services Newsletter: Dental Home (February 2014)

February is National Children's Dental Health Month. It is an ideal time to promote the importance of oral health. Developing and maintaining good oral health habits and getting regular oral heath care helps children and pregnant women achieve a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

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Health Services Newsletter: The Role of Drinks with Sugar in Children’s Oral Health (February 2015)

February is National Children's Dental Health Month, an ideal time to increase awareness of how drinks with sugar add to tooth decay. Some parents don't realize that many drinks they serve to young children contain natural or added sugar. These drinks are a major contributor to tooth decay in children.

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Healthy Habits for Happy Smiles

This series of handouts for pregnant women and parents of infants and young children provides simple tips on oral health issues. Early Head Start and Head Start health staff are encouraged to share the handouts with families to promote good oral health. The handouts are available in English and Spanish.

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A Healthy Mouth for Your Baby

Share this brochure with Head Start parents to promote oral health in young children. Topics include the importance of primary teeth, visiting the dentist by age 1, and the roles of fluoride and oral hygiene in preventing tooth decay. It includes tips for checking and cleaning teeth and information on feeding. Available in Spanish (español) and a version for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

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A Healthy Smile for Your Baby: Tips to Keep Your Baby Healthy [PDF, 287KB]

Early Head Start staff can use this brochure to teach expecting and new parents about the importance of oral care and hygiene for infants. It includes tips for taking care of an infant's gums and teeth, feeding their infant healthy foods, and getting a dental checkup by age 1. Parents can learn to keep their own mouths healthy and find resources for finding a dentist. Available in Spanish (español) [PDF, 277KB].

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A Healthy Smile for Your Young Child: Tips to Keep Your Child Healthy [PDF, 240KB]

Head Start staff can use this brochure to teach parents and caregivers the importance of oral care and hygiene during early childhood. It includes tips for brushing children's teeth, feeding their children healthy foods, and getting dental checkups and treatment. Parents can learn to keep their own mouths healthy and find resources for finding a dentist. Available in Spanish (español) [PDF, 220KB].

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Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me

This website provides resources to help parents teach children (ages 2-5) about oral hygiene. The resources include videos, tip sheets, games, quick facts, coloring pages, and resource guides. Topics include toothbrushing, nutrition, and visiting the dentist. There is also a guide for health providers. Available in Spanish (español) .

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IHS Head Start: Start Healthy. Grow Healthy

Find out how Head Start staff can help improve the oral health of American Indian and Alaska Native infants, children, and pregnant women. The booklets provide information to help programs meet oral health-related Program Performance Standards and apply best practices for prevention and early intervention. They also include sample forms for assessment, treatment, and topical fluoride application; posters on first aid for dental emergencies and oral health promotion; and a reference guide on classroom toothbrushing.

Tools and Resources [PDF, 438KB]
Best Practices [PDF, 338KB]

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Increasing Access to Drinking Water and Other Healthier Beverages in Early Care and Education Settings [PDF, 3.7MB]

Head Start staff can use this guide to learn about why serving water to young children instead of other drinks, such as soda, fruit drinks, and sports drinks, is important. It includes guidelines for serving water and other healthy drinks in early childhood programs. The guide also includes a performance standard checklist for staff to use to promote healthy drinks.

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Lift the Lip and Prevent Decay [PDF, 452KB]

Learn how to use the "lift the lip" technique for screening the teeth of infants and children for tooth decay. This flip chart is designed for Head Start staff working with children and families in the Pacific Islands and other rural settings.

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Open Wide: Oral Health Training for Health Professionals

Head Start staff and other community health providers may use this curriculum to promote oral health for pregnant women, infants, and children. Explore information on tooth decay, risk factors, prevention, oral health risk assessment, and oral health screening. It also highlights anticipatory guidance for parents.

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Oral Health: Tips for Families [PDF, 130KB]

Help parents understand the importance of good oral health habits for children. This tip sheet provides tips for brushing children's teeth, teaching children how to brush, eating healthy snacks, avoiding sugary drinks and foods, and visiting the dentist. Available in Spanish (español) [PDF, 125KB].

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Oral Health: Tips for Health Managers [PDF, 173KB]

Explore tips for promoting good oral health habits in pregnant women and children. Head Start health managers can use these tips to help families prevent tooth decay and choose healthy foods and drinks. Learn how fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and how parents can teach children to brush their teeth.

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Oral Health and Learning: When Children's Oral Health Suffers, So Does Their Ability to Learn [PDF, 265KB]

This fact sheet presents information on how poor oral health impacts children's learning and development. It discusses lost school time, oral health and learning, nutrition and learning, and programs for improving oral health in Head Start.

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Oral Health for Head Start Families

Head Start parents and families can find information on establishing and maintaining good oral health habits. Topics in the guide include: Primary teeth and tooth decay; checking for white spots; infection; oral hygiene during pregnancy and infancy; toothbrushing and toothbrush care; bottles and cups; snacking; medicine; and the first dental visit. Free registration is required. Available in English [PDF, 6.7MB], Spanish (español) [PDF, 6.7MB], Arabic (العربية) [PDF, 4.2MB], Chinese (汉语 / 漢語) [PDF, 4.3MB], Haitian Creole (kreyòl ayisyen) [PDF, 6.7MB], Khmer (ភាសាខ្មែរ) [PDF, 4.2MB], Portuguese (português) [PDF, 6.7MB], Portuguese Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) [PDF, 6.7MB], Russian (ру́сский язы́к) [PDF, 2.1MB], Somali (Af-Soomaali) [PDF, 6.7MB], and Vietnamese (tiếng Việt) [PDF, 4.1MB].

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Supporting Families to Improve Oral Health in Hawaii's Keiki

Health professionals can use this video to partner with families to improve oral health for infants in Early Head Start. The video discusses the importance of healthy primary teeth, gum cleaning and toothbrushing. It talks about the role of home visiting in improving infant oral health, and the importance of role models to promote children's oral health. The video also includes dental visit tips.

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Tooth Talk Videos

These videos for Head Start staff and other child care and early education professionals are about how to improve communication between staff and parents. Motivational Interviewing for Kids' Healthy Smiles is appropriate for sharing with parents.

Motivational Interviewing for Kids' Healthy Smiles (three minutes)
Tooth Talk Moments (24 minutes)

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Two Healthy Smiles: Tips to Keep You and Your Baby Healthy [PDF, 203KB]

Oral care and hygiene in pregnant women is critical. Head Start staff can highlight the importance of brushing, flossing, eating healthy foods, and getting dental checkups and treatment. Other topics include the impact of hormonal changes during pregnancy on gum health, caring for an infant's gums and teeth, and finding a dentist. Available in Spanish (español) [PDF, 170KB].

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Ways to Keep Your Baby Happy

Help children learn to brush their teeth using this illustrated guide. It was developed especially for parents in the Pacific Islands and other rural settings. It helps teach parents how to recognize tooth decay. Available in Spanish (español) [PDF, 669KB].

Oral Health Education Activities. HHS/ACF/OHS/NCH. 2015. English.

Last Reviewed: October 2016

Last Updated: October 19, 2016