February is Dental Health Month

Oral health is essential to overall health. Take steps to improve the oral health of children in your care. Why is oral health so important?
Tooth decay is a serious, but preventable infectious disease! Prevention requires daily oral hygiene and dental care. Did you know that one in four U.S. children between 2-4 years of age has tooth decay (The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, State of Little Teeth)? Untreated tooth decay can make it difficult for young children to eat, speak, play, learn and be successful in school. Children from low - income and minority families are particularly at risk for problems related to tooth decay.

How can I learn more about oral health?
ECELS has several options - see the Professional Deveopment Tab and the titles below:
1. Listen to and complete the ECELS Oral Health Webinar (1.5 hours)
2. Complete the ECELS Oral Health Basics Self-Learning Module (1 hour)
3. Complete the ECELS Oral Health Self-Learning Module (2 hours)

What can I do to improve oral health for children in my care?
The answer is…A LOT! Consider:
1. Educating families, staff, and children about the importance of oral health to overall health using tools available through self-learning modules and the resources below.
2. Hanging the Oral Health Poster in your program http://www.ecels-healthychildcarepa.org/tools/posters/item/431-oral-health-poster
3. Engaging children in a daily oral health routine using the Classroom Circle Brushing poster http://www.ecels-healthychildcarepa.org/tools/posters
4. Identifying resources to help families get oral health care for their children.

Resources
1. Cavity Free Kids is oral health education for young children and their families designed for uses including child care and preschool.  

2. Pennsylvania Head Start’s Initiative Healthy Smiles, Happy Children: A Dentist for Every Child                                                            2/2017