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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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.

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.

Five Key Oral Health Messages to Share with Pregnant Women and Parents

It's important to help pregnant women and parents of children enrolled in Head Start and child care programs understand the essential role of oral health. In this webinar, learn about five simple oral health messages and activities to help reinforce the importance of oral health with pregnant women and parents.

Happiness Begins with a Healthy Smile

This webinar explains how it can be fun to share oral health messages. Four key messages are paired with videos from Sesame Street in Communities to help staff share the benefits of good oral health with 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: Tips for Health Managers

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.

Oral Health and Learning: When Children's Oral Health Suffers, So Does Their Ability to Learn [PDF, 563KB]

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.

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.

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 an oral exam.

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 will all the posters in English and Spanish.