This Quarter’s Theme: Babies and a Dental Home

Tooth Talk Expert Helps You Answer Parents’ Questions About Babies & Dentists

Question: Why do babies need a dentist? Most of our parents think, “They’re only baby teeth and will just fall out anyway.” What can I tell them?

According to Dr. Frank Courts, DDS, PhD, a pediatric dentist in private practice in Rocky Mount, NC, a dental visit by age 1 is vital not only for a child’s healthy smile but also for hitting important developmental and growth milestones.

“Healthy baby teeth are the first and most important step to a healthy adult mouth! Dental cavities that start before age 2 have the potential to cause:

  1. Acute pain,
  2. Chronic discomfort,
  3. Poor nutrition
  4. Reduced learning and school performance, and
  5. Life-threatening infections.

“Early access to oral health care has been shown to dramatically increase oral health in 4- to 5-year-olds as well as reduce the need for extractions and fillings. Finding oral health services for your child by age 1 will go a long way toward having a healthy and happy child with a beautiful smile!”

For a helpful fact sheet to share with parents about dental visits for babies, click here.

To see a helpful video about “Why Babies Need a Dental Home”, visit the Video tab at the top of the page or click on the image below.


This Quarter’s Theme: Babies and a Dental Home

Tooth Talk Video Helps You Explain Baby’s 1st Dentist Visit to Parents

Did you know…

According to a 2014 scientific paper, a preventive visit to the dentist before age 3 was found to be beneficial for high-risk kids and may be associated with reduced treatment and expense in the future? That’s a message that makes sense to parents!

The first dental visit is mostly educational for parents. The dentist will counsel parents about nutrition, weaning from the bottle to a sippy cup, the proper technique of tooth-brushing, the importance of fluoride, the problems tooth pain can cause to a baby’s growth and development, and other topics that foster a child’s healthy smile.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend a dental home for babies at age 1. Encourage your parents to include this “well baby check-up” for their child’s beautiful, healthy teeth.

For more information about the importance of that first visit to the dentist, click on the short video “Why Babies Need a Dental Home.”

To see other Tooth Talk videos, click on the Videos tab in the menu at the top of the page.


This Quarter’s Theme: The Importance of Baby Teeth

Tooth Talk Tips Help You Communicate Better with Parents

“Good communication is two people sitting down and talking and both parties listening to both opinions and to what both people have to say.”

–Fred, a parent

“I want to be spoken to like an adult, very respectfully.”

Renee, a parent

That’s what motivational interviewing is all about. It’s a way to communicate that is more collaborative, supportive, respectful and inspiring. Best of all, it works. In your discussions with parents, use your OARS:

O = Ask open-ended questions.
A = Affirm positive behaviors.
R = Reflect back what is said.
S = Summarize what is discussed.

And, remember, motivation to change comes from the parent, not you.

  • It’s the parent’s job to figure things out.
  • It’s your job to help motivate and direct the parent to look at and understand challenges…it’s the parent’s job to act to overcome them.

To learn more about motivational interviewing, see the short, helpful Tooth Talk videos.


This Quarter’s Theme: The Importance of Baby Teeth

Tooth Talk Helps You Explain Dental Health Myths to Expectant Moms

“I’ve heard women lose a tooth for every child. Is that true?”

How many times have you heard that from moms in your program? Good news! You can reassure them with the truth: Being pregnant does not weaken teeth by taking the calcium from them. That’s an old wives’ tale.

Help the pregnant moms in your program keep teeth healthy and strong with these tips from HRSA Consensus Report on Oral Health Care for Pregnant Women:

  • Brush twice a day with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss before bedtime.
  • If feeling sick and unable to brush, rinse the mouth with water or a mouth rinse with fluoride.
  • The stomach acid from morning sickness can affect teeth by softening tooth enamel. Don’t brush after vomiting. Instead, rinse the mouth with either plain water or water with a teaspoon of baking soda in it.
  • Dental care, including x-rays, pain medication and local anesthesia are safe during pregnancy.

For more tips for the pregnant moms in your program from Tooth Talk, the website about improving children’s dental health for early childhood educators and care providers, click here.

Feel free to recommend to the moms in your program our short, informative video Healthy Teeth, Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby, by clicking below, or go to the Videos tab.