Take Care of Your Teeth
Good oral health is important to your overall health.
Oral diseases vary widely from cavities to gum disease to oral cancer. They can lead to speech problems, pain while eating, and disability. Oral health has been linked with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and pre-term and/or low birth weight babies.
Dental decay and periodontal diseases are both preventable. A healthy smile can last a life time with healthy habits, such as brushing, flossing, smart food choices, and dental visits. Learn more at the American Dental Association’s website, Mouth Healthy.
A dental sealant is a thin coating placed on the pits and fissures of the chewing surfaces of teeth where up to 80 percent of decay occurs in school children. The application requires no shots or drilling on the teeth.The surface of the tooth is cleaned well and the sealant is bonded to the tooth creating a smooth surface. Sealants prevent tooth decay by blocking out decay-causing germs from food.
Once applied, sealants protect against 80 percent of cavities for two years and continue to protect against 50 percent of cavities for up to four years. Dental sealants work best when applied to children who are at the highest risk of tooth decay.
Oral Health Resources:
- Take Care of Your Teeth with Dental Sealants (brochure) | Spanish | Marshallese
- Take Care of Your Teeth with Dental Sealants (flyer) | Spanish | Marshallese
Fluoride varnish is a medication painted on teeth to help prevent new tooth decay from forming and to stop more damage. Fluoride varnish has been shown to have a 38 percent reduction in tooth decay in children who are at mid to high risk for decay.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association, fluoride varnish greatly works to prevent and control tooth decay. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Academy of Pediatrics strongly suggest fluoride varnish.
Baby's First Year
There are many developments that take place during a child’s first 12 months of life, such as getting their first baby teeth. Baby teeth typically begin to enter the mouth between four to six months. It is important to start children on the right path of good oral hygiene practices to ensure a lifetime of a healthy smile.
Here’s what to do:
- Before Teeth
- Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth.
- Do not put your child to bed with a bottle.
- First Teeth to 2 Years Old
- 3-6 Years
- Limit the amount of sugary drinks and snacks.
- Use a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
- Introduce flossing when your child has two teeth that touch.
Since 1945, much has been accomplished, mainly through fluoride, to lower the damage caused by dental decay. The cheapest way to get the benefits of fluoride to all residents is by increasing the level of fluoride in the public water supply. All drinking water contains some fluoride. Fluoridation is the planned increase of that level to an amount proven to be safe, effective and economical in prevention of tooth decay.
What is the impact of fluoridation?
Learn the fluoridation status of your water system
The Water Fluoridation Reporting System (WFRS) is for state and tribal water fluoridation program managers and oral health program directors or managers. Data from WFRS are summarized in the biennial report of national and state fluoridation statistics.
- Take Care of Your Teeth Drink Tap Water (brochure) | Spanish | Marshallese
- Take Care of Your Teeth Drink Tap Water (flyer) | Spanish | Marshallese
- Fluoridation Fact Sheet
- American Dental Association Fluoridation Facts
- Fluoride: The Natural State of Water Brochure
- Fluoride: The Natural State of Water Poster
- Community Water Fluoridation: A Position Paper Prepared by the Office of Oral Health and the Science Advisory Committee
Community Water Fluoridation Toolkit
This toolkit is intended to help you better learn and talk about water fluoridation in your community! What are the best messages about fluoridation? What does the science say about the importance of water fluoridation? The answers and more can be found in this toolkit.
- Surgeon General’s Perspectives
- U.S. Public Health Service Recommendation for Fluoride Concentration in Drinking Water for the Prevention of Dental Caries
- Water Fluoridation Myths and Facts
- Fluoridation 101
The ADH Office of Oral Health’s mission is to promote life-long, optimum oral health for all Arkansans through primary prevention, education, accessible and culturally competent community-based oral health care, and informed policy development.
A number of new statewide dental initiatives have been developed through various partnerships. Read our latest Arkansas Oral Health Surveillance Plan, which outlines our initiatives to promote oral health in Arkansas.
You can also subscribe to our quarterly newsletter to stay up to date on the Office of Oral Health’s activities.
4815 W. Markham Street, Slot 18