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

Tooth Talk Helps You Motivate Behavior Change in Parents By Changing How You Talk

“I think for us the biggest problem is parents don’t have a lot of time to communicate with us. And so what happens is only one side gets to say what they really need to say. It’s either us or the parents.” –LaToya Newsom, Durham Early Head Start, Durham, NC

“Good communication to me is when the teacher and I can get together on what’s best for the child.” –Alisha, a parent

“Good communication is having a door that swings both ways. It allows both the staff and the parent to have their input and it empowers the parent to understand that they are a viable and valuable part of whatever situation that they’re in.”
– Carole Morrison, Head Start Manager, Salisbury, NC

Do you find it easy to talk with parents? Do you feel they listen to your suggestions about their children’s diet and health care? No? You’re not alone!

Sometimes, a short open-ended question lets parents know you’re both on the same team and have their children’s best interest as a top priority. Instead of saying, “Did you take Latisha to the dentist to get that tooth fixed yet,” try asking, “How’s it going getting Latisha’s tooth fixed?” or “Good job getting Latisha’s tooth fixed!”

Everyone needs praise! And asking a question that doesn’t require a YES or NO answer encourages conversation and builds trust. It motivates people to move forward in changing behaviors. This kind of communicating is called motivational interviewing, or MI for short.

To see more examples of how to use these MI skills from Tooth Talk, the website about improving children’s dental health for early childhood educators and childcare providers, click on the Videos tab. You’ll find a variety of helpful videos with good tips about motivational interviewing and inspiring behavior change in parents for kids’ healthy teeth.


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.