My SmileGuide - Health Literacy - MySmileGuideU, Oral health assessment, health literacy and online tools


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Dr. Fred Ferguson, D.D.S.
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Health Literacy
Caregivers, parents & individuals

Oral health begins at birth. The most common chronic illness of childhood is tooth decay*. Thus, what caregivers and parents know about oral health and do each day protects or harms their child’s oral health. As children grow and gain independence, there is the opportunity to continue harmful or protective habits and lifestyle choices. It is essential that children gain health literacy and continue to learn about good oral health throughout life. Oral health literacy can reduce the risk for health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Protecting your child’s oral health protects their overall health, growth, school success, self-confidence and well-being**. Child-care that protects oral health is an important investment in their future.

Untreated oral disease can turn a child’s future from bright to bleak and harm quality of life. Timely dental visits prevent and control oral problems, an essential part of health care and overall health.

* Centers for Disease Control and American Association of Pediatrics Oral Health Risk Assessment Policy Statement (2003)
** Surgeon General's Oral Health Report (2000)