Children’s Dental Health | Starting Early is Right on Time

Brushing-TeethDental cavities and tooth decay are one of the most common medical conditions experienced by Americans and the single most common disease of childhood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 19 percent of children have untreated cavities and approximately 41 percent of children have decay in their “baby teeth.” This is a health statistic that has not improved since the 1970s and recent studies are indicating a new rise in cavities in children.

In order to help children learn the importance of taking care of their teeth and make it a fun and easy experience, United Way of Southern Nevada hosts “Brush At Lunch” programs in partnership with Future Smiles at its partner child care centers.

This interactive workshop for preschool children takes place inside preschool classrooms, with two dental hygienists. Teachers and children discuss the importance of taking care of their teeth, healthy versus unhealthy food, and how going to the dentist can be fun.

Many of these children have never had a dental check-up so their first visit can be a painful or uncomfortable experience. The sooner a child is familiar with a dentist or hygienist, the better.

Learn-to-Brush-TeethChildren should brush their teeth at least twice a day, so United Way provides dental supplies for each classroom to assist them in brushing properly after meals.  Each preschool age child also receives a take home kit that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, timer and educational materials, as well as information on how to contact Future Smiles for services.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) provided over 2,000 easy to read publications to families at our partner preschool centers. The topics include the definition of tooth decay and prevention, the importance of dental sealants, and critical the role that caregivers play at home in maintaining good oral health.

Upon completion of this fiscal year, 14 child development centers will have received the Brush At Lunch program. Over 250 children have received oral health education and supplies this year, and that number continues to rise as we move forward.

8 Responses to Children’s Dental Health | Starting Early is Right on Time

  1. Let me be the first to say that I am thrilled to be apart of this impactful program! The chilren are so excited to have oral hygiene kits in their classrooms, and love to take care of their teeth. Future Smiles staff do a fantastic job of educating the children on the importance of Oral Hygiene. It’s all about prevention, and there’s no better place to start than with our young ones!

  2. This is fantastic! United way is a blessing to so many and I’m proud my family is apart of that! My nephew Dallas is a great example of how small change leads to BIG results.! His mother Stacy Burrell makes sure he is always active and involved. The children are our future, and this programs goes to show in so many ways, our children need to be in the best health they can be!

  3. At Hill & Dale Child Development Center we enjoy participating in the “brush at lunch” program. It has become part of our daily routine that the children, staff and parents appreciate. The United Way of Southern Nevada was very instrumental in getting us all the materials needed to implement the program from education to a clean & proper way to store our toothbrushes.

    • its so funny you say that…. i was just thinking the same thing! His parents much really instill the benefits of great hygiene to him!

  4. I just love these programs for children. I have an event like this every year in my current preschool where the hygienist comes in and shows the children the proper way to brush and floss. the information packet that each child receives includes toothpaste/toothbrush along with valuable information that the parents can use to know when is a good time for their child to start seeing a dentist. It also includes information for low income families. My children adore the Giant Size toothbrush and matching teeth which also includes a small impromptu puppet show.

  5. It is amazing what the “Brush for Lunch” program and Future Smiles has provided for the children at City Impact Early Education Center. Our center implemented brushing after lunch in 2005 and with United Way’s support we are able to maintain the children’s routine with toothbrushes and toothpaste. Future Smiles promotes nutrition, dental health and regular visits to the dentist, we so look forward to their next visit to our center.

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