Oral Health

Oral Health Resources for Staff

The resource materials listed below will help Head Start and child care staff learn about oral health for pregnant people, infants, and young children. Topics include dental visits, fluoride, nutrition, oral health care, oral hygiene, and safety and emergency first aid.

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A Guide to the Dental Periodicity Schedule and Oral Exam

Learn the difference between a dental periodicity schedule and a well-child periodicity schedule and information about and oral exam.

Applying Consultation Skills to Oral Health Promotion

View this presentation to explore how a child care health consultant can help address a child’s oral health.

Baby Teeth Are Important!

Use this poster to remind parents about why healthy primary teeth are important to children's health and development. This poster is also available in an American Indian and Alaska Natives version.

Bright Futures in Practice: Oral Health — Pocket Guide

This guide helps health professionals implement oral health supervision guidelines during pregnancy, the postpartum period, infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence. The guide also addresses family preparation, interview questions, risk assessment, screening, examination, preventive procedures, anticipatory guidance, and referrals.

Brush Up on Oral Health

This tip sheet series provides Head Start staff with information on current practice and practical tips for promoting good oral health.

Brushing Is Fun!

These two sets of guidelines provide information about toothbrushing in North Carolina preschool programs. One guide covers infants and children from tooth eruption to age 3, and the other guide applies to children age 3-6. Topics include steps for group toothbrushing in preschool programs, toothbrush and storage-rack care, general toothbrushing, helpful hints for group toothbrushing, and information about fluoride toothpaste.

Checklist for Child Care Staff: Best Practices for Good Oral Health

The tip sheet provides best practices related to foods, drinks, and oral hygiene to promote good oral health for infants (birth to age 1), toddlers (ages 1–3), and young children (ages 3–5). Also, review how to handle basic oral health emergencies.

Dental Hygienist Liaison Project

Explore this tip sheet to find out about the Dental Hygienist Liaison (DHL) project. Learn about the purpose, scope, and role of DHLs. Find examples of the types of activities DHLs engage in to improve the oral health of pregnant women and children enrolled in Head Start and other child care programs.

Improving Oral Health Literacy Brightens Children's Smiles

This webinar discusses oral health literacy. Learn why it matters and discover practical resources for improving the oral health literacy of Head Start program staff and families.

Increasing Access to Drinking Water and Other Healthier Beverages in Early Care and Education Settings 

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.

Lift the Lip and Prevent Decay

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.

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.

Oral Health Forms

Oral health forms are important records of a pregnant woman's or child's dental visit. These forms provide information on the 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 needed oral health care services and any information to share with others.

Oral Health for Maryland's Kids: A Head Start Teacher's Guide for Creating Healthy Smiles

Use this curriculum to instill positive oral health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors in Head Start children and their families. The seven lesson plans in the curriculum also introduce good oral health habits for children. Each lesson plan features learning objectives, background information for teachers, and Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework domains and elements. Also included is a list of materials needed to conduct the lesson, questions to check children’s knowledge and understanding, small group supplemental and enrichment activities, and a newsletter for parents.

Oral Health Self-management Goals for Parents and Caregivers

This handout is designed to help parents and other caregivers establish goals related to oral hygiene, oral health care, and feeding and eating practices to improve their child's oral health.

State Dental Periodicity Schedules

This interactive map shows Head Start health managers, family service coordinators, home visitors, and others where they can find individual states’ recommended Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment program periodicity schedules for oral health.

Steps for Toothbrushing at the Table: Growing Healthy Smiles in Early Care and Education Programs

Use this video to demonstrate to staff how to brush infants’ and children’s teeth every day in Head Start and child care programs.

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.

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.

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.

I Like My Teeth

These posters are designed to share positive messages about drinking water with fluoride, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and children's oral health. Head Start and child care staff can use them as a teaching aid in Head Start and child care classrooms, and at parent events.

Download this zip file with all the posters.