The first smile is a milestone that can warm your heart. After many long and often sleep-deprived nights, suddenly your baby turns to you and grins.
But a baby’s smile is so much more—it has an important role in his or her lifelong health. Baby teeth are vital for chewing foods and speech. They prepare the mouth and jaw for permanent teeth as well.
Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases among children today—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 1 in 5 kids ages 5 to 11 have untreated tooth decay. Yet we know that proper oral health early in a child’s life can also reduce problems later on.
What parents and caregivers can do:
For more information about children’s oral health, visit http://2min2x.org/.
Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens is the president and chief executive officer of Interact for Health and InterAct for Change. Dr. Owens is a reproductive endocrinologist. He earned an MD, an OB/GYN residency and a master’s of public health degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He also obtained a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Harvard Medical School. In recent years, Dr. Owens has served as the Hamilton County Coroner, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College President, and Interim Health Commissioner and Medical Director of the Cincinnati Health Department.
Interact for Health regularly conducts research and collects data in order to monitor and evaluate our region’s health status and to measure public opinions about health policy.
Our Health in Action stories highlight the innovative work our grantees are doing to help reduce tobacco use, address the opioid epidemic and ensure that children can access health care through school-based health centers. We also interview people working on those issues at other organizations across the country to learn what works for them.
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