When the issue of children’s health gets raised by elected and appointed officials, in school settings or within institutions, make sure it includes children’s mouths! We tend to forget oral health is part of overall health. Bring it up!
Ask your pediatrician if s/he routinely checks kids’ mouths for their oral health status. If they don’t, send them to the project web site for ideas and materials.
Ask your school and child care providers whether the snacks and meals they serve are good for the kids’ teeth.
Ask your school if they do dental screenings, especially for kids who may not have access to oral health care. School nurses can do a lot to check and protect kids if they are given the go-ahead. Speak up for kids’ oral health at PTA meetings, push the school board and administration to watch kids’ mouths for health, not just words.
Find out if your water supply is fluoridated. To find out, call your local water district . If it is not, support fluoride protection efforts in your community.
Encourage health care and dental care providers to work together to ensure every child has access to oral health care — by age one or when their first teeth emerge. Baby teeth count!
Support community clinics and organizations which provide oral health care to members of your community. Contact local officials and legislators to expand support for these services.
Talk with your dentist about what s/he is doing for kids in the community. Ask them to display ‘Watch Your Mouth’ posters in their office.
Recognize the dentists in your community who stand up for kids’ oral health. Encourage dental students who pursue working in community settings and with very young children. With more visibility, others might follow these leaders. Ask community leaders to speak up at civic organizations, e.g. Rotary, Lions, etc. to recognize committed dentists.