Noting that every baby deserves the very best right from the start, including the best oral health, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) is partnering with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on the Protect Tiny Teeth campaign.
“Early childhood caries (ECC) still affects more children than it should,” said ADHA CEO Ann Battrell, MSDH. “In some cases, mothers unknowingly and unintentionally pass the bacteria that cause ECC to their child. ADHA and AAP want to make sure that all pregnant women and new moms have the information necessary to ensure the best start for their child’s oral health.”
Protect Tiny Teeth is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its initial phases involved creation of an online toolkit to help oral healthcare providers educate pregnant women about their own and their child’s oral health.
Educational messages explain the relationship of bacteria to ECC, emphasizing that pregnancy itself does not cause mouth problems and that dental care is both safe and necessary for expectant mothers.
Protect Tiny Teeth also teaches mothers how to care for their infant’s mouth before teeth erupt and that the first dental visit should come before the first birthday. Resources are available in English and Spanish.
ADHA created a companion toolkit specifically for dental hygienists to use in parent education as part of Protect Tiny Teeth. The group is distributing additional messaging through its social media and publications.