Habits that children develop in the early stages of life are incredibly important. Did you know 90 percent of brain development occurs before the first day of kindergarten? Wow! And, did you know tooth decay is the number one chronic disease in childhood, and that it’s preventable in nearly every case?
It’s imperative that children learn to take care of their bodies. This means early childhood professionals all have roles to play in helping children develop healthy routines. They also can provide families with important resources.
Healthy Child Care Colorado has prioritized oral health as a focus area because of the profound effects oral health can have on children’s development and overall health. Children with serious oral health problems may be in pain, and that pain can make it hard for them to concentrate, follow directions and learn. Young children may not be able to describe or even realize they are in pain because they have learned to live with it. As a result, they may act out or seem uncooperative. So, it is very important that the adults in their lives do what they can to support their oral health.
Healthy Child Care Colorado provides Cavity Free Kids training for early childhood programs across Colorado at no cost to them. Cavity Free Kids focuses on five main basics of oral health:
The training highlights how to embed these topics into a program’s everyday practice. There are also family engagement tools that can help establish an oral health connection between home and child care. The training is packed with ideas such as songs and activities so that the learning is age-appropriate for young children from infants to pre-kindergarten.
Cavity Free Kids inspired people like Precious, owner of Sunshine Kids Academy. The training prompted her to ask questions and make tooth brushing part of the daily routine at her child care program. Precious collaborated with families to implement tooth brushing. She also makes efforts to serve tooth-healthy foods and water or unflavored milk instead of sugary drinks, which can decay teeth. (Watch video)
Healthy Child Care Colorado is helping child care programs across the state implement tooth brushing through a program funded by the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation. Did you know that tooth brushing can be done in child care without using the bathroom, or even a sink? You can do it when children are sitting at tables after they have eaten, or with children sitting in a circle!
Join us at our upcoming Healthy Smiles Summit being offered at no cost to you. This Summit includes Cavity Free Kids training and other workshops designed to help programs implement and maintain tooth brushing, write health policies, and create activities to take back to their programs.
If you would like to learn more about tooth brushing in child care or our Cavity Free Kids training, please visit our website or contact Becky Edwards, Early Childhood Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Taran Schneider, MA