Bobby's teeth - PSAChildren's dental home - posterDental home - poster - Spanish

Importance of Early Oral Health Care

NYDHA's public education campaign includes increasing caregivers' awareness of the importance of early and continued oral health care of children. See our public service piece on this topic, "School's Not a Pain for Bobby … But His Teeth Are," in addition to the resources below.


Does Your Child Have a Dental Home?

"Does Your Child Have a Dental Home?” is NYDHA’s public and professional educational campaign urging parents and caregivers to establish a “dental home” for their children by age one. Enjoy and share our campaign poster. Available in Spanish here.

Visit NYDHA for more resources on developing oral-healthy practices in early childhood - including resources specific to childhood, information of sealing teeth, and our "Say Ah-Hah" oral health factsheets.


 Getting Children Ready for Checkups

Child at dental hygiene visitTaking children to a dental office might seem frightening to them at first, but there are a number of specific things parents can do to help children enjoy their first visit to the dental hygienist.

First of all, talk positively about the appointment. This starts at home with parents setting a good example by brushing and flossing together with their children every day. Parents who may have had negative oral healthcare experiences should not communicate those feelings or any anxiety to children, as that will make them fearful.

Using a toothbrush, parents can demonstrate to children how their teeth might be cleaned by a dental hygienist. They can also tell children that there will be some noise involved and that the dental hygienist will be wearing a mask and gloves to protect themselves and the children from bacteria. In addition, dental hygienists recommend that parents let their children watch them get their own teeth cleaned. They will realize that if it didn't hurt their parents, it won't hurt them.

Oral hygiene at home for children should begin at birth. This should include thorough cleaning of the child's mouth and gums with either a gauze pad or infant washcloth after feedings and before bedtime. Once a baby's primary (baby) teeth appear, parents can use a small, soft-bristled infant toothbrush dampened with water to clean them gently. Later, by the age of two or three, parents can teach their children how to brush with a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Parents should continue to help their children care for their teeth until age seven or eight, when they have enough dexterity to brush and floss alone. By helping children learn oral hygiene early, parents can help to prevent cavities and other oral health problems.