Learn how to prevent tooth decay in your baby by Dr. Nichols, a Cook Children's pediatrician in Southlake, Texas.
Dental health is an important part of a child's overall health.
In our North Texas region, 88% of parents believe preventive dental care is important, but only 75% realize that dental health also affects our overall health. An important fact we'd like to draw attention to is that 10% of children are not getting all the dental care they need. At Cook Children's, we want to change that. We know that children with dental problems have poorer general health and we want to help them improve by sharing information from our experts and the community.
Here are some posters about oral health that you can download and print.
Social media messages to help us share
Please feel free to use our messaging below, or create your own. To use our messaging, all you have to do is copy the messages we've provided below and insert the appropriate photo into whichever social media site you use. We do ask that you keep #healthymouthhealthybody in the message.
Did you know you can catch a cavity? Germs that cause cavities spread just like a cold or flu.
Prevent the spread of germs by not sharing drinks, food or toothbrushes. Licking a pacifier to clean it, blowing on your baby's food and letting baby put fingers in your mouth can also spread germs. #healthymouthhealthybody
Healthy eating and drinking = healthy mouth and body
Think of foods as Go, Slow or Whoa! Go = apple, black beans and water. Slow = applesauce, pretzels and 100% juice. Whoa! = apple pie, chips, fries and soft drinks. #healthymouthhealthybody
Do you know when your baby should visit the dentist?
They should visit the dentist by age 1 or when the first tooth appears. Then, visit every 6 months after that, unless you notice brown or black spots. If you see these, visit right away. #healthymouthhealthybody
Make visiting the dentist a positive experience for your child.
Choose a dentist that is parent and child friendly. Avoid appointments close to nap, lunch or snack times. Read a book or watch a video with your child about visiting the dentist. #healthymouthhealthybody
Did you know that baby teeth matter?
Children need healthy baby teeth to learn how to talk, chew food and hold a place for their permanent teeth. Healthy baby teeth help children learn in school without dental pain. #healthymouthhealthybody
A healthy mouth starts before your baby has teeth.
Wipe your baby's gums with a clean, wet cloth in the morning and bedtime. Only use water in the bottle/sippy cup at bedtime. #healthymouthhealthybody
Do you know the rules of 2?
Visit the dentist at least 2 times a year. Brush for 2 minutes, 2 times a day – morning and bedtime. #healthymouthhealthybody
Protect your baby before they are born by taking care of your own oral health.
It can lower your baby's risk for tooth decay. Visit the dentist during your pregnancy. #healthymouthhealthybody
Did you know it's safe and important to visit the dentist when you are pregnant?
Gum disease or tooth decay in pregnant women is linked to babies being born early or too small. Let the dentist know you are pregnant when you schedule your appointment. #healthymouthhealthybody
How to care for children's teeth
- Wipe your baby's gums with a clean, wet cloth in the morning and bedtime.
- Only use water in the bottle/sippy cup at bedtime.
- Stop using bottles by age 1.
- Visit the dentist by age 1 or when first tooth comes in around 6 months.
- To avoid passing a bacteria that causes cavities, don't share cups, straws, spoons, toothbrushes or lick pacifiers to clean them.
- Brush for at least 2 minutes, 2 times a day (morning and bedtime).
- Floss 1 time a day when teeth start touching. Help your child brush and floss their teeth until age 9.
- Eat and drink healthy. Limit sugary snacks and drinks, including juice.
How to find a dentist
If you're searching for a dentist, our family resource brochure is a quick and easy way to find low/no cost dental resources in Tarrant County and the surrounding areas.
- Family dental resources in Tarrant County.
- Recursos dentales para familias en el Condado de Tarrant.
Preparing for a dental visit
Some kids like going to the dentist, but others might be afraid of a visit to the dental office. If your child is worried or fearful, a little preparation before the visit can be especially helpful. Here are a few tips to help make the experience easier for your child and for you.
- Be positive about the dentist visit. Don't use the dentist as a threat to get your child to brush their teeth or eat healthy. Instead, reassure your child that the dentist just wants to keep their teeth as healthy as possible. It may help to plan a special activity for after the visit!
- Talk with your child about what may happen, using simple language. For example:
- "The people at the dentist's office might want to take x-ray pictures of your teeth so that they can see if they are healthy."
- "The dentist will look at your teeth, and a dental hygienist may come in to clean your teeth and teach us how to keep your teeth clean at home."
- Some dental offices will let you and your child come in for a “get to know you” visit before the actual appointment. This way you and your child can look around the office and meet some of the team. Ask your dental office if this is an option.
- Some children like reading a book or watching a video about visiting the dentist. And after the visit, your child might want to write or draw about their experience!
- If your child has a developmental condition such as autism, or other health problems that may make oral care and dental visits particularly challenging, be sure to let the dentist's office know when you make the appointment.
Download and print:
Links to other resources we've found useful:
- Print a poster to promote dental care
- Oral health coloring and activity sheets
- Sesame Street's oral health information
- Oral health books for kids
- Dental emergencies
- American Dental Association's resources for babies and kids
- American Dental Association's resources for pregnant women and oral health
- Keep Kids' Mouths Healthy
Peyton Salavarria shares information on preventing cavities and germs.
Dr. Sheela Patel helps you prepare for your child's first dental visit.
Dr. Sheela Patel discusses healthy choices for a healthy mouth.
KidBits Salud bucal – Cavidades
KidBits Salud bucal – Comer, Beber
KidBits Salud bucal – Dientes de Bebè
KidBits Salud bucal – Embarazada
KidBits Salud bucal – Visitas dentales
KidBits Video Series: Oral Health Education, Baby Teeth
Dentists say that the most important part of tooth care happens at home. Brushing and flossing properly, along with regular dental checkups, can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
If you're like most people, you don't exactly look forward to facing a dentist's drill. So wouldn't it be better to prevent cavities before they begin?
Some really fun information for you!
What are teeth? You need teeth to talk and eat properly. From baby teeth to permanent teeth, find out all about them in this movie.
What's spit? Pull a lollipop out of your mouth and you'll see it. Wake up after drooling on your pillow and you'll feel it. That's right, it's spit, also known as saliva (say: suh-LIE-vuh). Learn all about spit here.
What happens at the dentist? Brushing and flossing are important, but you also need to visit your dentist regularly to keep your teeth strong and healthy. Let's learn more about what happens at the dentist's office. Learn all about dentist office visits here.
Brushing and Flossing Demonstration: Short video demonstrating toothbrushing and flossing for students.
Visiting the Dentist: A short video explaining the process of a dental visit for children.
A pediatric dentist answers kids questions about oral health
Click here to get serious about your teeth! This website has some awesome information and cartoons to help you learn all about keeping your mouth health!
Save A Smile
Save a Smile is an innovative, nationally recognized, collaborative program. We provide thorough preventive and restorative dental care for children from low-income families with the help of volunteer dentists.
Save a Smile
Children's Oral Health Coalition
Children's Oral Health Coalition (COHC) is dedicated to improving the oral health of children in Tarrant County and the surrounding areas through community collaboration. Our impact areas are: Awareness, Education, Prevention and Advocacy.
Oral Health Resources
Support for parents with children who have complicated needs.
Events and education
1 hour (Virtual - Recording)
Mental Health Matters for Everyone will highlight: • Why It’s okay to not be okay • Signs/symptoms to look for, when to get help • Maternal depression • Coping skills for self and family • Community resources
Ask the Docs About Prenatal Oral Health: Safety of Dental Treatment and COVID-19 Vaccination During Pregnancy
1 hour (Virtual - Recording)
Safety of Dental Treatment and COVID-19 Vaccination During Pregnancy will explore: Safety of routine dental care for pregnant patients including use of X-rays, pain medications, and local anesthesia. Questions about the COVID-19 virus and vaccines.
2 hours (Virtual - Recording)
This is a 2-hour recorded training for professionals in the community who would like to know more about oral health, safety of care during pregnancy, how to identify the signs of tooth decay, and the importance of coordinating care for pregnant teens and women early to keep mom and baby healthy.
2.5 hours (Virtual - Recording)
This is a 2-hour recorded training for professionals in the community who would like to connect oral health with overall health by deepening their understanding and skills about oral health and its importance and connection to overall health, identifying early signs of tooth decay, risk and preventive factors, and sharing tips and resources with parents.
1 hour (Virtual - Recording)
This is a 1-hour recorded session for medical/dental professionals. Medical and dental experts will discuss the link between oral health and overall health during pregnancy and how a mother's oral health can impact their child.
Growing Healthy Kids from Pregnancy & Beyond: What Nobody Tells You Session 1: Medical and Dental Coverage
1 hour (Virtual - Recording)
This is a 1-hour recorded session to discuss the different types of insurance and plans (Medicaid/CHIP), what is covered and key questions to ask your medical or dental provider. These sessions are a unique opportunity for new and experienced parents to grow skills and awareness about a kid's oral health, overall health and well-being.