February is National Children's Dental Health Month. The Public Health Division and Oral Health Program are raising awareness about the importance of oral health and encouraging caregivers and children to practice good oral health habits.
A healthy mouth is an important part of overall health. Good oral health starts with your child's baby teeth. This includes:
- regular visits to the dentist
- twice daily brushing
- daily flossing
- a healthy diet
- avoiding tobacco
- protecting the mouth from injury
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Improving oral health is one of seven priority areas from Oregon's State Health Improvement Plan. View data, strategies and measures for this priority area.
A healthy mouth is an important part of overall health, and good oral health starts with your child's baby teeth. If baby teeth are kept cavity-free, then a child's adult teeth are more likely to be cavity-free.
Having healthy baby teeth:
- Allows your child to chew and eat properly
- Helps your child to speak more clearly
- Guides adult teeth into place
- Helps to shape your baby's face
- Keeps future dental costs to a minimum
Children can prevent cavities by maintaining good oral hygiene.
Good oral health includes:
- Seeing a dentist regularly
- Brushing teeth for at least two minutes, two times a day
- Flossing teeth daily
- Using fluoride (toothpaste, varnish, fluoridated water)
- Choosing healthy snacks like vegetables, cheese, and fruits (not fruit juice)
- Avoiding tobacco
- Protecting the mouth from injury
To make brushing fun and rewarding, the OHA School-based Dental Sealant Program has developed a calendar that children can use to keep track of brushing twice each day. Please download the calendar in a preferred language.
For more specific tips to maintain good oral hygiene for your child, please visit Oral Health Care for Infants and Children.
Oral Health Program
The Oregon Health Authority's Oral Health Program is responsible for advancing evidence-based strategies to improve the oral health of all Oregonians. The Program is designed after the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors' (ASTDD) model for state-based oral health programs. The Oral Health Program takes a comprehensive approach to address oral health issues across the lifespan through these activities:
- Creating systems and leadership capacity to incorporate oral health into overall health prevention strategies
- Ongoing data collection and maintenance of the Oregon Oral Health Surveillance System
- Policy development
- Delivery of school-based oral health programs
- Oral health promotion and education for the public
- Building partnerships and collaboration to support the integration of oral health
- Workforce development