Every baby deserves the very best right from the start, including the best oral health. Starting in February, as the oral health community turned its attention to the pediatric population, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) began partnering with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on the Protect Tiny Teeth campaign.
The Protect Tiny Teeth project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its initial phases involved creation of an online toolkit to help oral health care providers educate pregnant women about their own and their child’s oral health.
Educational messages explain the relationship of bacteria to early childhood caries (ECC), emphasizing that pregnancy itself does not cause mouth problems and that dental care is both safe and necessary for expectant mothers. Protect Tiny Teeth also teaches mothers how to care for their infant’s mouth before teeth erupt, and that the first dental visit should come before the first birthday. Resources are available in English and Spanish.
ADHA’s contribution to Protect Tiny Teeth involves creation of a companion toolkit specifically for the dental hygienist to use in parent education. ADHA is distributing additional messaging through its social media channels and publications. For more information, access ADHA’s Protect Tiny Teeth toolkit online at www.adha.org/protect-tiny-teeth.