The goal of Head Start is to help every child succeed in school. Head Start recognizes the connection between children’s oral health and their overall wellness. When children’s oral health suffers, so does their ability to learn. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain and infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that tooth decay (dental caries) affects more children in the United States than any other chronic infectious disease.

At Head Start children learn about the importance of oral health care and healthy nutrition, and brushing teeth is part of the health curriculum that is built into children’s daily routines. Families receive information about the importance of good oral health habits including regular dental visits. To learn more about oral health, visit the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center.

Read about the Head Start Dental Home Initiative to learn about how a network of dentists in each state are partnering with Head Start staff to help Head Start families find a dentist for their children.

In 2007 the Massachusetts Head Start Association received a grant from the DentaQuest Foundation to eliminate disparities that limit access to dental services for Massachusetts Head Start and Early Head Start children. With the generous support of this funding, the Association has developed a Family Oral Health Guide for Head Start families.

To view the Guide, click on the cover below.
To download a copy of the guide in English or one of ten translations, click here.
  • Head Start parents learn
    about the importance of
    their child’s dental health.
  • Happy, Healthy Teeth!
    provides easy to understand
    information about tooth
    brushing, what to eat and
    drink for healthy teeth,
    and prepares children for their first visit to the dentist.
    It also includes tips for
    families. Books are available from the Massachusetts Head Start Association. To order a copy, click here to download an order form or click on the button below to order online.