Oral Health Policies and Procedures

The following materials provide information for Head Start staff and others on oral diseases and injury prevention. Topics include feeding and eating practices, oral hygiene, and safety practices and emergency first aid. Note: These resources are under review.

Classroom Circle Brushing: Quick Reference Guide [PDF, 7.4MB]

Head Start teachers can explore this quick reference guide to find information on oral health for American Indian and Alaska Native populations. The guide describes seven simple steps for teaching children how to brush their teeth. It also provides guidance on oral health for infants and children from birth to age 5.

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Effective Partnerships Guide: Improving Oral Health for Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Children and Their Families [PDF, 1.2MB]

Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) grantees and Federally Qualified Health Centers can use this guide to create partnerships that increase access to oral health services for children in MSHS and their families. Contents include steps and considerations for effective partnering. Topics include the importance of oral health, comprehensive oral health care, financing, collaborative planning, and best practices.

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Embracing Our Future: Health Services and Head Start

Discover how Head Start programs are making a difference in the lives of four children and their families in this short video. The video includes vignettes about primary care health services the children and their families received while enrolled in Head Start. One vignette, "Matthew's Story," focuses on oral health. A companion video guide reinforces key messages from the video and provides a basic description of health services in the Head Start Program Performance Standards. [Matthew's Story, Companion Guide]

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Head Start Oral Health Forms

The oral health forms are important records of a pregnant woman's or child's dental visit. The forms provide information on dental home and current oral health status, and what oral health care services were delivered during the dental visit. These services include diagnostic and preventive services, counseling, restorative and emergency care, and referral to a specialist for care. The forms also record what oral health care services are needed and any information to share with others.

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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.

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

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Medicaid Portability in the Context of Oral Health Care for Head Start-Enrolled Children in Migrant Farmworker Families [PDF, 1.4MB]

This report explores opportunities and challenges in addressing Medicaid eligibility and enrollment for children of migrant and seasonal farmworkers. It examines Medicaid portability—the ability of Medicaid to follow children from one state to another. The analysis presents an overview of Medicaid eligibility and enrollment. It also offers approaches to increasing Medicaid enrollment and portability for children in Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs, using Head Start programs as a mechanism for identifying and enrolling children in Medicaid.

girl brushing her teeth

Modified Toothbrushing Protocol

Watch the video for strategies classroom teachers and staff can use to teach young children about how to brush their teeth. Topics include tailoring the instruction to each child's developmental level, using the right amount of fluoride toothpaste, and limiting mouth rinsing after toothbrushing.

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Recommendations for Oral Health: Toothbrushing Protocol for Preschool and Child Care Settings Serving Children 3–5 Years of Age [PDF, 189KB]

Explore the importance of toothbrushing protocols for Head Start staff and others serving children ages 3 to 5 at high risk for tooth decay. The brochure addresses when to schedule brushing and frequency of brushing; where to brush; adult supervision of children while brushing; selection, hygiene, storage, and replacement of toothbrushes; importance of using fluoridated toothpaste; selecting and dispensing toothpaste; brushing techniques; and rinsing after brushing.

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Strategies to Improve Collaboration Between State Oral Health Programs and Head Start State Collaboration Offices [PDF, 160KB]

Use this tip sheet to enhance collaboration between state oral health program (SOHP) directors and Head Start State Collaboration Office (HSSCO) directors and staff. It discusses how the relationship between SOHPs and HSSCOs has developed to date and outcomes of collaboration. It also provides recommendations for further collaboration.

Oral Health Policies and Procedures. HHS/ACF/OHS/NCH. 2015. English.

Last Reviewed: December 2016

Last Updated: December 5, 2016