‘Tooth Talk,’ website to promote children's dental health, launches Jan. 27

Jan. 27, 2014

Tooth Talk, a new, interactive website that gives early childhood educators and child-care providers information that will help them prevent early childhood tooth decay, launched today. The launch coincides with National Children’s Dental Health Month in February.

A collaboration of the Gillings School of Global Public Health at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the North Carolina Division of Public Health, Oral Health Section, the website is a clearinghouse of weekly tips, vital resources, handy links and instructive videos designed to support teachers and child-care providers in improving the oral health of young children.  The project is funded by a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, in collaboration with Bull City Forward and N.C. State University’s Institute of Emerging Issues.

Each year, about 40,000 children in North Carolina enter kindergarten having experienced tooth decay, a preventable disease.

Leslie Zeldin

Leslie Zeldin

“Our goal is to improve preschool oral health,” said Leslie Zeldin, MPH, research associate and team leader of the project at the Gillings School. “The website provides Early Head Start, Head Start and other early childhood educators and child-care providers with the most current oral health information in a variety of media to accommodate all types of learners, so that they can encourage behavior change and promote best oral health practices in the families with whom they work. By creating a dynamic, easy-to-access, attractive website for our target audience, we are providing something new – a central place where new resources developed for this project, as well as previously available resources, links and archives, will live.”

Members of the Early Childhood Oral Health Collaborative serve as the advisory committee for the project. Project members include the N.C. Oral Health Section, N.C. Division of Medical Assistance – Medicaid, N.C. Academy of Family Physicians, N.C. Pediatric Society, N.C. Head Start state collaboration office, East Coast Migrant Head Start Program, N.C. Head Start/Early Head Start, N.C. Partnership for Children, N.C. Dental Society, UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Dentistry and Gillings School of Global Public Health, and East Carolina University’s School of Dental Medicine.

For more information about Tooth Talk, contact Leslie Zeldin at 919.843.4998 or leslie_zeldin@unc.edu.

Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu.