Tooth Talk for Early Head Start Teachers

Project: Research project


The team submitting this application has previously collaborated on producing three separate videos and supporting materials to improve the oral health of low-income, preschool-aged children in North Carolina: Tooth Talk Moments: Motivational Interviewing [MI] for Early Head Start [EHS]; Into the Mouths of Babes Fluoride Varnish Application; and Priority Oral Health Risk Assessment and Referral. Early Head Start (EHS) is a federally funded community-based program for low-income families with infants and toddlers and pregnant women. Its mission is to promote healthy prenatal outcomes for pregnant women, to enhance the development of very young children, and to promote healthy family functioning.
The goal of this application is to make these oral health videos and related, newly developed materials readily accessible to our target audience: early childhood educators in North Carolina, the people on the front lines of behavior change for children and parents. As part of an NIH-funded intervention study, more than 450 teachers in EHS programs in North Carolina have received training in basic oral health. The video and educational materials were used in support of a pilot study, embedded in this larger NIH initiative, to test the feasibility of training teachers and staff from several EHS programs in the use of Motivational Interviewing skills to encourage behavior change in parents that results in good oral health for their children. State and national leaders in early childhood education have asked that the MI training module be made more widely available. With funds from this application, we will create a simple, thematic, attractive website called Tooth Talk for early childhood educators that will transform the way resources on motivational interviewing and oral health topics are currently made available in the state and elsewhere. As a one-of-a-kind clearinghouse, it will feature a dynamic interactive component through which early childhood educators can share insights and experiences and receive helpful weekly news updates and tips related to the oral health of very young children. The potential for integration of such a website with workforce activities (currently pending funding from HRSA) would enable us to expand the impact and reach a broader early childhood educator community while integrating MI-appropriate oral health-related messages into the updates and news and tips briefs. Our goal is to create one place where the most current information on oral health best-practices for early childhood education is available and easily accessible.
Effective start/end date9/1/131/2/15


  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation


Oral Health
Motivational Interviewing
Pregnant Women
Topical Fluorides
Child Behavior
Preschool Children
Financial Management
Practice Guidelines
Referral and Consultation