An estimated 30,000 Colorado children in kindergarten through third grade have untreated tooth decay—many from poor families. Tooth decay is the #1 chronic disease of childhood and one of the state’s “10 Winnable Battles” because it’s preventable.
Fluoride toothpaste helps prevent decay, but it’s not enough. Sugar rots kids’ teeth. Juice is a common source of sugar in children’s diets. Yet parents mistakenly think juice is healthy. Tap water helps prevent decay and promotes good health.
School readiness and performance among kids with untreated decay is negatively impacted due to pain, absence, self-esteem issues and other factors.
Poor oral health is linked to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
By learning about this issue, you are already helping to make a difference. Please consider sharing this information with those you know. Read below about how partners are helping to improve oral health.
Bright By Three visits with parents and caregivers and provides a three-step program to make sure their little ones get the best start in life. Bright By Three’s no-cost text-messaging program offers parents helpful, age-specific information about their child’s oral health and development. Text BRIGHT to 444999 to sign up.
Launched in 2007, Cavity Free at Three trains and supports health and dental providers on preventing childhood tooth decay. To get involved and receive training, visit Cavity Free at Three’s website for more information.
Children’s Museum of Denver features the Village of Healthy Smiles, where children newborn through age three and their grown-ups can explore oral health in an interactive way. The Museum also offers fun programs including story time every Thursday, a summer program called It’s a Toothy Tradition, and a school program called Molar Expedition.
Denver Public Health is helping to lead the way in promoting healthy beverages like water. Denver Public Health’s Rethink Your Drink campaign is providing vital information on how sugary drinks contribute to health problems in children and adults. The campaign encourages the consumption of water.
Healthier Colorado aims to improve the health of all Coloradans. They elevate the voices of residents in the public policy process. They seek to reduce health disparities based on socioeconomic status, race and geography. Healthier Colorado, through support from Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, leads a statewide community water fluoridation initiative.
The Healthy Beverage Partnership works to reduce obesity and related chronic diseases in the Denver metro region and is sponsored by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The HBP’s “Hidden Sugar” campaign is coordinated by Denver Public Health, in partnership with local public health and environment agencies in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties.
LiveWell Colorado educates and inspires children and adults to embrace healthy eating and active living. To learn more about protecting your child’s overall health from obesity, visit our website.
Oral Health Colorado develops and promotes strategies that achieve good oral health for all Coloradans. OHCO’s work includes coalition-building, improving access to care, and supporting public policies that promote good oral health.
Qualistar Colorado advances quality, access and equity in early childcare and education. Their approach includes family and educator services to improve outcomes for children. They work across sectors to provide quality assessments and capital improvement grants. Qualistar’s data and research rates Colorado’s early care and education landscape. It also helps to identify effective public policies.
Southeastern Colorado Area Health Education Center trains oral health promoters, or promotores. The promotores engage with Pueblo families and community leaders about the importance of children’s dental health and prevention of tooth decay in kids.
Westwood Unidos has launched a campaign in Southwest Denver to spark a resident-driven movement for child oral health. Using a community organizing approach, this work focuses on the importance of baby teeth and limiting children’s consumption of sugary drinks, especially juice. We hope to replicate this work in other areas across the state.