February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. The Iowa Department of Public Health reminds parents the key to a lifelong, healthy smile is early preventive care. Beginning regular dental visits by the age of 1 year, using fluoridated water and brushing twice a day can help prevent painful cavities from forming in a child’s mouth.
The IDPH I-Smile Dental Home Initiative is a program that helps Iowa's children connect with dental services. Last year, I-Smile helped more than 54,000 Iowa kids find dental care. Since 2006, more than 554,000 fluoride applications and 372,000 dental sealants have been provided for children through I-Smile. It’s estimated that I-Smile services have prevented 21,630 cavities since 2013.
A child with a healthy smile will have more confidence when speaking, eating and interacting with others. “A child’s healthy smile is more than just pretty teeth. It’s a gateway to proper development, good overall health and beaming confidence,” IDPH Public Health Dental Director Dr. Bob Russell, said. “With good oral health, a child can be I-Smile strong.”
There are 23 I-Smile coordinators around the state who are responsible for working with children and families; dentists and dental office staff; medical providers; school nurses, teachers and administrators; businesses; civic organizations; and social service organizations. The coordinators work for county health departments or private, non-profit organizations to administer I-Smile in all 99 Iowa counties.
For more information about I-Smile visit ismile.idph.iowa.gov/.