October 24, 2013

Research led by the University of Maryland School of Public Health has shown that large numbers of parents are unaware of the basic oral health care practices that can prevent pediatric dental caries, or kids tooth decay, the single-most common childhood disease in America. To address this knowledge gap, Dr. Alice Horowitz, research associate professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health, and the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy created "Healthy Mouths for You and Your Baby," a 12-minute video aimed at educating mothers on good oral health practices for themselves and their families. "During prenatal classes, mothers learn how to take care of every part of their child, every orifice - except the mouth," Dr. Horowitz said. "Tooth decay is the most prevalent childhood disease, and we can prevent it." Many mothers and families with young children do not know how to prevent tooth decay and commonly pass poor oral health care habits onto their children. In the new video, health care professionals walk through the steps of proper oral health care with new mothers and their infants, encouraging them to start preventive practices early to cultivate good habits and establish a healthy routine. Avoiding sugary drinks or even milk from a bottle at night, brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and drinking tap water that contains fluoride or taking fluoride tablets can dramatically reduce the risk of tooth decay in children. The video also features tips and advice from real mothers, based on research that has shown that mothers enjoy hearing from other mothers, in addition to health care professionals, on issues that affect their children. The video, which will be distributed broadly at community based health clinics and WIC clinics coincides with a Maryland campaign launched last year called "Healthy Teeth, Healthy Kids," and is part of a larger effort by the Center for Health Literacy to increase oral health literacy among high-risk families. The Center has focused their funded research on the knowledge, understanding and practices of both the public and health care professionals in preventing this widespread problem. This video addresses a gap in oral care knowledge that exists among the public, especially in low-income families. Watch "Healthy Mouths for You and Your Baby":

Related People
Alice Horowitz