The Delaware Division of Public Health's Bureau of Oral Health and Dental Services has partnered with the Delaware chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to promote literacy and good oral health habits by encouraging parents to find a dentist for their child by age 1.
In support of its mission to promote optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults in Delaware, DEAAP recently established an Early Literacy Committee tasked with engaging and supporting Delaware primary care pediatricians to promote literacy from birth to age 5. ELC’s efforts are guided by its vision that “beginning at birth, every Delaware child is read to every day.”
To help accomplish this goal, DEAAP and BOHDS are collaborating on the distribution of the "Brush, Brush, Brush!" book to pediatric practices that are implementing the evidence-based Reach Out & Read literacy program.
The book, which will be distributed during the 12-month well-child visit, promotes healthy habits using rhyme to engage and inspire little ones to brush their teeth. Included on the back of the book will be a sticker with the BOHDS hotline that helps families find a dentist.
“The age 1 dental visit is important for several reasons in that it allows for a positive dental experience for the child and family,” Dr. Nick Conte, dental director for DPH, said in a prepared statement. “Not only does it create an opportunity for early identification of any developmental issues and preventive needs, more importantly it helps to foster a home environment where oral health is valued, and families have the knowledge and skills necessary to stay healthy and decay free.”
Pediatric practices expressing an interest in distributing the “Brush, Brush, Brush!” book will be contacted by a dental hygienist who will coordinate book delivery, as well as engage in oral health conversations around available supplies (toothbrushes, dental floss, toothpaste, etc.) and training for risk assessment and fluoride varnish application, as requested by the practice.
“The DE AAP ELC is excited to be collaborating with the Bureau of Oral Health and Dental Services on this initiative," said Dr. Stacey G. Fox, chair of ELC. “It is a win-win. With a fun gift for the child to keep, busy pediatricians are able to provide two essential messages simultaneously: the importance of reading with your child every day and how to keep their brand-new teeth healthy and strong. The kids love to look at the book, and these messages get reinforced with every turn of the page.”
For more information about dental resources in Delaware, visit the website.
For assistance locating a dentist, call 622-4540.