NH DHHS Promotes New Recommendations in Recognition of Children’s Dental Health Month

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, in

recognition of February as Children’s Dental Health Month, reminds parents

and providers that children should receive their first oral health check up

before one year of age, and remember to brush twice a day for 2 minutes

each time—think “2x2.”

Tooth decay is almost entirely preventable. Tooth decay is the most

widespread chronic childhood disease and can cause a lifetime of problems

if not prevented or treated early in a child’s life. Untreated cavities may

lead to pain and infection, and when children suffer from oral health

problems so does their ability to concentrate and learn. Early tooth loss

from dental decay can cause impaired speech development, absence from

school, difficulty with concentration, and reduced self-esteem.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric

Dentistry recommend that children begin regular oral exams when their first

teeth become visible or by one year of age. New Hampshire Medicaid and many

other dental insurance programs cover the cost of these examinations.

“These are problems that can be easily prevented by taking care of

children’s mouths and teeth from the time they are infants,” said Dr. José

Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “It‘s an investment that lasts

a lifetime. The National Partnership for Healthy Mouths has created the new

2x2 initiative that makes it easier for parents and caregivers to remember

this important part of preventing oral health problems during our busy


Here are important steps to take to help preserve dental health in


Brush and floss children’s teeth 2 times a day.

Use a toothpaste with fluoride.

Give fluoride prescribed by your health care provider if your water

supply doesn’t have the right amount of fluoride to protect a child’s


If using a pacifier, do not dip it in anything sweet such as honey or


Clean an infant’s teeth and gums every day, especially after feeding

and before bed.

Have regular dental checkups, starting before age one.

Do not give infants juice until 12 months of age, and always use a

cup and not a bottle for juice.

Never put a baby to bed with a bottle.

Don’t let your child catch the bacteria that cause tooth decay by

sharing food, utensils, or toys with others.

Avoid sticky snacks, dried fruits, candy, and sweetened drinks. Offer

healthy snacks, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Follow your health care provider’s advice.

For more information on the “2 minutes, 2 times” national campaign, visit

http://2min2x.org/. For resources on celebrating National Children’s Dental

Health Month, go to the American Dental Association’s website at

http://www.ada.org/6712.aspx. To learn about the New Hampshire Oral Health

Program go to http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/bchs/rhpc/oral/index.htm or call

271-4535. Families with preschool children may be eligible for the WIC

Nutrition Program and to receive nutrition education about healthy meals

and snacks for infants and preschoolers. Contact WIC at 1-800-942-4321 or