Healthy Smiles from the Start

The Alliance of the American Dental Association (AADA), together with the American Dental Association (ADA) and Henry Schein Cares (HSC), launched Healthy Smiles from the Start, a new multifaceted prenatal and postnatal dental health care education program for mothers and caregivers of newborns. Created to address the nations growing dental health issues during pregnancy and throughout early childhood, Healthy Smiles from the Start is engaging and helpful information available in English and Spanish about how and why to make mouth healthy habits a priority for everyone in the family.

Early childhood carries (ECC), also known as baby bottle tooth decay, is an epidemic in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one-third of children aged three-to-five years have dental cavities in at least one primary tooth. Yet, dental health education has not been widely incorporated into prenatal and postnatal education programs. There is an urgent need for dental health education to be included in pre-and post-natal classes offered by hospitals and birthing centers, said AADA Members, Sue Gardner and Molly Bickford. By collaborating with these educational programs and providing the Healthy Smiles from the Start brochures, we can help to prevent and decrease baby bottle tooth decay, as well increase awareness that its not only safe, but very important that women visit the dentist during pregnancy.

Healthy Smiles from the Start launched at the Touro Infirmary with the help of the Louisiana State University Health New Orleans School of Dentistry.

AADA members nationwide will also distribute Healthy Smiles from the Start materials to local hospitals and community health centers with established prenatal education classes. In year one, the AADA has set a goal of having materials in at least three prenatal classes per state, and it will aim to increase by at least ten classes per state. Educational brochures are available in English and Spanish. All materials were created in collaboration with the programs partners, including the ADA, Henry Schein Cares, The Foundation for Dental Health Education, The Alliance of the Georgia Dental Association and The Alliance of the Ohio Dental Association. 

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