This Quarter’s Theme: Brush Up: Dental Care!

Tooth Talk Recommends Helpful New Resource the Parents in Your Program Will Love!

Studies show that reading bed-time stories to toddlers can benefit children socially and educationally. It promotes parent-child bonding, prepares a child for sleep and improves brain development. Did you know it can also be good for kids’ teeth health?

It is now, thanks to Book, Brush, Bed, a new program of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that helps parents establish a predictable nighttime routine for their little one. Good things happen when there is less stress: By reading a bed-time story and then brushing their baby’s teeth with a smear of fluoride toothpaste, parents set the stage for sweet dreams of the healthy kind–for both kids and parents!

The parents in your program will appreciate the helpful articles, links and fact sheets ranging from age-appropriate brushing tips to tactics for enticing tots to enjoy brushing. All the articles are short and easy to read with colorful photos and excellent bullet points.

Book, Brush, Bed is just one of the excellent resources on Tooth Talk, the website about improving children’s dental health for early childhood educators and childcare providers. To see the innovative Book, Brush, Bed site, click here. Check out links to other vital resources you can use in your job by clicking here.


This Quarter’s Theme: Brush Up: Dental Care!

Commemorate National Children’s Dental Health Month with a Refresher Video on Toothbrushing Tips from Tooth Talk

Toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste is important for a child’s healthy smile. Healthy teeth ensure proper growth and development, improve concentration in school and at play, and boost self-confidence.


  • Suggest to parents to start brushing their baby’s teeth twice a day at the appearance of the first tooth (usually between 6 and 10 months).
  • Use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste on a soft bristle child’s toothbrush.
  • Brush the front, back, around and on top of each tooth, brushing gently back and forth.
  • Kids want to brush their teeth themselves. That’s OK but remind parents also to brush kids’ teeth.
  • Continue to brush children’s teeth for them daily until they can tie their shoes.

For more tips and how-tos for brushing a young child’s teeth, click on this short video:

Help Promote 2015 National Children’s Dental Health Month in February

Help the kids in your program defeat plaque and enjoy good oral health by participating in the American Dental Association’s 2015 National Children’s Dental Health Month campaign in February. This year’s youth poster theme is Defeat Monster Mouth and features tips for fighting plaque, including brushing, flossing, rinsing and eating healthy snacks. For the poster and more activities, tips and a handy guide, click here.



This Quarter’s Theme: Well-being


Tooth Talk’s Resolutions for 2015: Our Top Teeth Tips for Tots Parents Need to Hear

It’s that time of year when we look to the future. About half of us make New Year’s resolutions every year. But, about half of those resolving to change fail, usually within the first few months. However, research shows that people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to succeed in their goals than those who don’t. As 2015 approaches, we’re making it easy for you to beat the national average (and help keep healthy smiles on kids’ faces!).

Here are Tooth Talk’s 2015 top tips for children’s good oral health the parents in your program need to know:

tiny smear of toothpaste

Tiny smear of toothpaste. Altarum Institute © 2007,

  • Brush children’s teeth for two minutes, two times a day.
  • Use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste on a child’s toothbrush. Increase to a pea-size drop at age 3.
  • Eliminate juice and juice drinks from the diet.

Interested in learning more about teeth health for kids? The Videos tab showcases a number of short, helpful videos ranging from toothbrushing to tips on communicating with parents. The Experts tab features expert opinions answering your questions on topics such as teeth health during pregnancy, establishing a toothbrushing program in your center and nutritious snacks.

This Quarter’s Theme: Well-being

Tooth Talk Expert Helps You Share Healthy Snacks Ideas with Parents

Question: The parents in my program are asking me about healthy snacks for their children. What are your recommendations?

Healthy snacks benefit not only children’s teeth but also their overall health, building strong bones and muscles and boosting brain development, according to Alice S. Ammerman, DrPH, RD, Director for the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Professor, Department of Nutrition at the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health and School of Medicine.

“Snacks are really important for small children because they are a fairly substantial part of a toddler’s diet simply because most kids don’t just sit down to three regular meals a day. They eat more often, usually snacking throughout the day, so that makes it even more important to make sure snacks are healthy. Small children are natural neophobes–they are afraid to try new things. Broadening the snack menu trains toddlers to be open-minded about trying new things, which helps them in every way.

Dr. Ammerman lists the healthy snacks toddlers should be eating: cheese, raw fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, crackers and chips, yogurt and eggs. But she knows it can be hard to get kids to eat these foods. Here are some creative tips:

  • Get Dipping: Kids love to manipulate things with their fingers. Give them thinly sliced carrots, turnips and celery to dip in yogurt or salad dressing. Remember, think raw foods–little ones prefer raw veggies over cooked ones. Crackers and whole grain breads are fun to dip in a bean spread or cottage cheese. Dip banana slices in yogurt, then in crushed cereal and freeze.
  • Get Creative: Kids are more likely to eat food if it’s in a fun animal or face shape. Use a cute cookie cutter to cut shapes out of fruit slices and bread. Create a face with a round thin slice of turnip smeared with peanut butter with raisins for eyes and a matchstick carrot strip for the mouth.
  • Get Kids Involved: Research has found that children who help grow or prepare food are more likely to try new tastes. Plant a veggie garden or visit a farmers’ market. Invite kids to help prepare their own snacks, counting out cheese cubes or grape pieces.

Dr. Ammerman shares additional tips about nutritious food choices:

  • Avoid sticky candies and, of course, soft drinks.
  • If a child says she’s hungry, try very cold water first. Oftentimes, a perpetual grazer can be satisfied with a nice cold drink of water.
  • Busy parents can make snacking easy by keeping in the fridge little bags or containers of healthy foods, prepped and ready to grab and go: small, thinly cut carrots (which stay fresher sitting in cold water), cubes of cheese and chopped up fruit. This excellent strategy helps avoid the costly temptations (in dollars, calories and tooth health) of fast food, junk food and candy.
  • Avoid extra sugars and chemicals by buying full-fat dressings and yogurt instead of low-fat or fat-free versions.
  • Remember, cut up all foods into small bites to prevent choking. Of course, the best plan is not to leave very small children alone when they’re eating.

To see other Ask the Expert posts, click here.