This Quarter’s Theme: Well-being

Tooth Talk Celebrates National Brush Day with Good Tips to Share With Parents

What’s scarier than Halloween monsters? Tooth decay in small children! National Brush Day is November 1. It’s the day after the ultimate candy-consumption holiday for a good reason: to remind families of the importance of children’s dental health and to promote good brushing habits. Started in 2013 as part of the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives campaign, National Brush Day has a simple message: brush kids’ teeth for two minutes, two times a day.

Remind parents of these good tips too:

  • Start brushing 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. Increase to a pea-size drop at age 3.
  • Brush outside, inside, around and on top of each tooth, brushing gently back and forth.
  • Kids want to brush their teeth themselves. That’s OK, just so parents take a turn too.
  • Continue to brush children’s teeth daily until they can tie their own shoes.

For more tips and how-tos for brushing a young child’s teeth from Tooth Talk, the website about improving children’s dental health for early childhood educators and childcare providers, check out the Videos and Ask the Experts tabs.


This Quarter’s Theme: Well-being

Short New Tooth Talk Video Helps You Talk Healthy Snacks with Parents

We are what we eat! This is especially true for small children. A balance of nutritious foods is vital not only for teeth health but also for overall health, building strong bones and muscles and boosting brain development. Foods like fresh fruits and veggies, cheese, whole grain crackers and bread, and yogurt are all good choices. Plus, an early start on good-for-you foods may ensure a lifetime of healthy eating practices.

For more information about the importance of healthy snacks for babies and toddlers from Tooth Talk, the website about improving children’s dental health for early childhood educators and childcare providers, click on the short video “Healthy Snacks, Healthy Teeth.”

To see other short, helpful videos about children’s dental health–from toothbrushing and bottle-weaning to communicating with parents and fluoride varnish, click on the Videos tab in the menu.


This Quarter’s Theme: Well-being

Tooth Talk Spotlights a Great Resource You Can Use: is brought to you by the ADA, American Dental Association. This is a colorful, easy-to-follow website with oral health information for everyone, from pregnant moms to adults over age 60. The ‘Babies and Kids’ tab on the landing page will take you and parents to important information with helpful photos on brushing with the appropriate amount of fluoride toothpaste beginning with the first tooth. Other topics you’ll find interesting and beneficial in your discussions with parents include teething and the first dental visit.

There’s a handy A-Z Topics Index where you and the parents in your program can look up topics of interest, from Anxiety to X-rays–including short videos. Want to test your knowledge? Type ‘quiz’ in the search box and rate your understanding of kids’ teeth health!

We appreciate that MouthHealthy also features helpful basic nutritional information, with a link to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website (formerly the American Dietetic Association). This site of the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals is packed with interesting ideas and information you can use at work. Check out the great section on nutrition for infants and toddlers by clicking here. Eye-opening articles we like include ‘Healthy Nutrition for Healthy Teeth’, ‘Picky Eating Phases’, and ‘Getting Started on Eating Right.’

MouthHealthy 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 MouthHealthy site, click here.

Check out links to other vital resources you can use in your job by clicking here.

How do you usually communicate with parents? Text? Email? Face to face? Express Your Opinion by clicking here.



This Quarter’s Theme: Well-being

Tooth Talk Expert Helps You Answer Parents’ Questions About Hidden Sugars in Food Labels

Question: How can I tell if something like juice is good for children?

According to Dr. Jim Congleton, DDS MS, a pediatric dentist in practice at New Bern’s Coastal Pediatric Dentistry, misleading food labels are creating a perfect storm for tooth problems, and that storm is called sugar. “A lot of parents are giving kids way too much juice. Advertising leads them to believe there is no sugar in juices and they are good for children. For instance, an apple juice label may say 100% Natural with No Sugar Added. Don’t believe it. Read the nutrition facts: per serving! That’s something parents forget too, that these foods have serving sizes–apple juice has 26 grams of sugar, about 5 teaspoons. And, some are as high as 38 grams, which is 7+ teaspoons of sugar per serving. A container of fast food chocolate milk contains 25 grams of sugar, again, about 5 teaspoons. That’s a lot!

“Along with the amount per serving is the frequency of serving–how many times a day does the child get juice or flavored milk? Many parents fill and refill a sippy cup and the child drinks all day long. That’s as bad as taking a bottle to bed. And, a lot of these kids don’t eat well; they’re never hungry because they’re full of sugary juice.”

Dr. Congleton’s best advice? “Remember, no sugar means no tooth decay. Give kids water or plain milk at meal and snack times and replace juice completely with fresh fruit such as oranges, strawberries, apples, pears, blueberries, peaches, melons and grapes, cut up into small pieces. These are better for small children, providing them with vitamin C as well as fiber, which is good for teeth and the digestive system. Avoid raisins because they are gooey and stick to the teeth.”

Parents still confused about reading labels? Advise them to try Dr. Congleton’s tip: Every time they read a food label for sugar, hold up their hand and count 5 fingers to remind them that 5 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon.

We want to know what’s on your mind. Ask the Expert at Tooth Talk, the website about improving children’s dental health for early childhood educators and care providers. Our panel of experts will choose a question each month and answer it on the site and in the weekly eblast. To ask your anonymous question, click here.

To see other Expert posts, click here or go to