children learn to live with the constant pain of rotting teeth and
swollen gums. They go to sleep with it. They go to school with it. It
affects their energy levels and even their self-esteem. *
Just the Facts
decay is the single most prevalent disease of childhood. About
one-third of California preschool children have untreated tooth decay.
can cost $2,000-$5,000 to treat EACH CHILD with severe tooth
decay. Many of these children must be hospitalized for dental
tooth decay can cause pain and infection that can lead to
problems with nutrition, growth, school readiness, and speech problems.
What can Early Childhood Educators do???
Educate parents on oral health issues
such as the importance of primary teeth, first dental visit by first
birthday, transmissble nature of cavity-causing bacteria, weaning,
frequency of snacking, self-assessment at home, and use of fluoride
toothpaste for daily brushing for the entire family.
Educate children about proper oral
hygiene, importantce of dental check-up, importance of teeth, how they
can get cavities, and how to keep their teeth strong.
Recognize signs of early childhood caries and refer to dental providers.
*Paraphrased from Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools