Sign In
The Center for Children's Health

Oral Health

Child brushing teeth

Healthy Mouth. Healthy Body.

Dental health is an important part of a child's overall health. In our North Texas region, 88% of parents believe preventive dental care is important, but only 75% realize that dental health also affects our overall health. An important fact we'd like to draw attention to is that 10% of children are not getting all the dental care they need. At Cook Children's, we want to change that. We know that children with dental problems have poorer general health and we want to help them improve by sharing information from our experts and the community.

Get Involved

Save A Smile

Save A Smile

Save a Smile is an innovative, nationally recognized, collaborative program. We provide thorough preventive and restorative dental care for children from low-income families with the help of volunteer dentists.

Save A Smile

Children's Oral Health Coalition

Children's Oral Health Coalition

Children's Oral Health Coalition (COHC) is dedicated to improving the oral health of children in Tarrant County and the surrounding areas through community collaboration. Our impact areas are: Awareness, Education, Prevention and Advocacy.

Coalition information

Oral Health Resources

Boys promoting Save a Smile

Impact oral health

Join us as we share information on how to build oral health awareness.

Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Sign up for our newsletter

Dentist with child

Health professionals

Helping you integrate oral health into a child's overall healthcare.

Smiles For Life education resources Anesthesia or sedation for kids?HPV: Oral CancersFluorosis facts

Parents and teachers

Look here for downloadable resources to encourage children to continue good oral health habits while at home! We've collected some great coloring sheets, educational pages, quick lessons and other tips which are all great for home learning.

Healthy food and drink:

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Language activities:

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Learn about your teeth!

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Spanish resources:

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Oral health lesson

Printable posters:

Here are some posters about oral health that you can download and print.

Use go, slow and whoa!

Oral health poster English and Spanish

You can catch a cavity poster English and Spanish

Social media messages to help us share

Please feel free to use our messaging below, or create your own. To use our messaging, all you have to do is copy the messages we've provided below and insert the appropriate photo into whichever social media site you use. We do ask that you keep #healthymouthhealthybody in the message.

Download all graphics

Did you know you can catch a cavity? Germs that cause cavities spread just like a cold or flu.
Prevent the spread of germs by not sharing drinks, food or toothbrushes. Licking a pacifier to clean it, blowing on your baby's food and letting baby put fingers in your mouth can also spread germs. #healthymouthhealthybody

you can catch a cavity

Healthy eating and drinking = healthy mouth and body
Think of foods as Go, Slow or Whoa! Go = apple, black beans and water. Slow = applesauce, pretzels and 100% juice. Whoa! = apple pie, chips, fries and soft drinks. #healthymouthhealthybody

you can catch a cavity

Do you know when your baby should visit the dentist?
They should visit the dentist by age 1 or when the first tooth appears. Then, visit every 6 months after that, unless you notice brown or black spots. If you see these, visit right away. #healthymouthhealthybody

when baby should visit dentist

Make visiting the dentist a positive experience for your child.
Choose a dentist that is parent and child friendly. Avoid appointments close to nap, lunch or snack times. Read a book or watch a video with your child about visiting the dentist. #healthymouthhealthybody

positive dentist experience

Did you know that baby teeth matter?
Children need healthy baby teeth to learn how to talk, chew food and hold a place for their permanent teeth. Healthy baby teeth help children learn in school without dental pain. #healthymouthhealthybody

baby teeth matter

A healthy mouth starts before your baby has teeth.
Wipe your baby's gums with a clean, wet cloth in the morning and bedtime. Only use water in the bottle/sippy cup at bedtime. #healthymouthhealthybody

before baby has teeth

Do you know the rules of 2?
Visit the dentist at least 2 times a year. Brush for 2 minutes, 2 times a day – morning and bedtime. #healthymouthhealthybody

rules of 2

Protect your baby before they are born by taking care of your own oral health.
It can lower your baby's risk for tooth decay. Visit the dentist during your pregnancy. #healthymouthhealthybody

take care of your oral health

Did you know it's safe and important to visit the dentist when you are pregnant?
Gum disease or tooth decay in pregnant women is linked to babies being born early or too small. Let the dentist know you are pregnant when you schedule your appointment. #healthymouthhealthybody

visit dentist during pregnancy

Dentist visit

For Parents

How to care for children's teeth

  • Wipe your baby's gums with a clean, wet cloth in the morning and bedtime.
  • Only use water in the bottle/sippy cup at bedtime.
  • Stop using bottles by age 1.
  • Visit the dentist by age 1 or when first tooth comes in around 6 months.
  • To avoid passing a bacteria that causes cavities, don't share cups, straws, spoons, toothbrushes or lick pacifiers to clean them.
  • Brush for at least 2 minutes, 2 times a day (morning and bedtime).
  • Floss 1 time a day when teeth start touching. Help your child brush and floss their teeth until age 9.
  • Eat and drink healthy. Limit sugary snacks and drinks, including juice.

How to find a dentist

If you're searching for a dentist, our family resource brochure is a quick and easy way to find low/no cost dental resources in Tarrant County and the surrounding areas.

Preparing for a dental visit

Some kids like going to the dentist, but others might be afraid of a visit to the dental office. If your child is worried or fearful, a little preparation before the visit can be especially helpful. Here are a few tips to help make the experience easier for your child and for you.

  • Be positive about the dentist visit. Don't use the dentist as a threat to get your child to brush their teeth or eat healthy. Instead, reassure your child that the dentist just wants to keep their teeth as healthy as possible. It may help to plan a special activity for after the visit!
  • Talk with your child about what may happen, using simple language. For example:
    • "The people at the dentist's office might want to take x-ray pictures of your teeth so that they can see if they are healthy."
    • "The dentist will look at your teeth, and a dental hygienist may come in to clean your teeth and teach us how to keep your teeth clean at home."
  • Some dental offices will let you and your child come in for a “get to know you” visit before the actual appointment. This way you and your child can look around the office and meet some of the team. Ask your dental office if this is an option.
  • Some children like reading a book or watching a video about visiting the dentist. And after the visit, your child might want to write or draw about their experience!
  • If your child has a developmental condition such as autism, or other health problems that may make oral care and dental visits particularly challenging, be sure to let the dentist's office know when you make the appointment.

Download and print:

Links to other resources we've found useful:

  1. Print a poster to promote dental care
  2. Oral health coloring and activity sheets
  3. Sesame Street's oral health information
  4. Oral health books for kids
  5. Dental emergencies
  6. American Dental Association's resources for babies and kids
  7. American Dental Association's resources for pregnant women and oral health
  8. Keep Kids' Mouths Healthy

Additional resources

Dr. Sheela Patel helps you prepare for your child's first dental visit.

Learn how to prevent tooth decay in your baby by Dr. Nichols, a Cook Children's pediatrician in Southlake, Texas.

Peyton Salavarria shares information on preventing cavities and germs.

Dr. Sheela Patel discusses healthy choices for a healthy mouth.

KidBits Video Series: Oral Health Education, Baby Teeth

KidBits Salud bucal – Visitas dentales

KidBits Salud bucal – Comer, Beber

KidBits Salud bucal – Cavidades

KidBits Salud bucal – Dientes de Bebè

KidBits Salud bucal – Embarazada

For Kids

Some really fun information for you!

What are teeth? You need teeth to talk and eat properly. From baby teeth to permanent teeth, find out all about them in this movie.

What's spit? Pull a lollipop out of your mouth and you'll see it. Wake up after drooling on your pillow and you'll feel it. That's right, it's spit, also known as saliva (say: suh-LIE-vuh). Learn all about spit here.

What happens at the dentist? Brushing and flossing are important, but you also need to visit your dentist regularly to keep your teeth strong and healthy. Let's learn more about what happens at the dentist's office. Learn all about dentist office visits here.

Brushing and Flossing Demonstration: Short video demonstrating toothbrushing and flossing for students.

Visiting the Dentist: A short video explaining the process of a dental visit for children.

A pediatric dentist answers kids questions about oral health

Click here to get serious about your teeth! This website has some awesome information and cartoons to help you learn all about keeping your mouth health!

For Teens

Dentists say that the most important part of tooth care happens at home. Brushing and flossing properly, along with regular dental checkups, can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

If you're like most people, you don't exactly look forward to facing a dentist's drill. So wouldn't it be better to prevent cavities before they begin?

Teen having teeth cleaned