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Oral Health

Oral Safety

Tooth decay is one of the most common childhood diseases.

Did you know that over 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness? Tooth decay is one of the top reasons children visit their school nurses. Many children with cavities and pain in their mouth can not concentrate in school and are frequently absent due to dental pain.

Cook Children's is committed to improving the health status of every child in the region which includes working collaboratively to prevent oral health disease. In 1999 the Children's Oral Health Coalition (COHC), led by the Community Health Outreach Department at Cook Children's, was formed to improve children's oral health for underserved children in our county through community collaboration.

How to care for children's teeth (ages 0-4):*

  • Wipe baby's mouth twice a day with a clean, wet cloth.
  • Do not put babies to bed with bottles filled with anything other than water. Stop using bottles after age 1.
  • Visit the dentist and establish a dental home for children by age 1.
  • To avoid passing a bacteria that causes cavities, don't share cups, straws or spoons with small children or lick pacifiers to clean them.
  • Brush teeth twice a day with a small, soft brush once teeth erupt. Use fluoride toothpaste after age 2 and supervise brushing until the child is 8 or 9 years old.
  • Floss daily. Children can't floss alone until they are 10 years old.
  • Feed children a balanced diet; limit snacks between meals and juice consumption.

*Taken from the Train the Trainer curriculum module developed by the COHC Community Awareness Subcommittee.

Oral Health Resources

For more information, please email Elaine Vivens or call at 682-885-6730.