Each year, the Delta Dental Foundation funds Brush kits and training for home visitors, children with special needs, adults with chronic health conditions, and WIC clinics in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina. McMillen Health created the Brush curriculum and offers training to qualifying organizations that are awarded funded.
Overview of Brush
McMillen Health’s Brush Oral Health Program offers educational oral health resources designed to improve the oral health of children from birth to age 5 and adults with chronic health conditions. Brush resources provide education in a low-literacy format allowing professionals serving low-income audiences to integrate these resources into their classroom, home visiting, or peer-to-peer setting. Professionals using Brush include early childhood educators and interventionists, home visitors, parents and caregivers, and peer support professionals.
Brush resources for children from birth to age 5 follow five key themes:
- Brushing teeth twice a day.
- Visiting the dentist regularly.
- The importance of good nutrition and understanding which foods help teeth and hurt teeth.
- The importance of primary teeth in speech, chewing healthy foods, and protecting adult teeth.
- How dental health relates to school readiness and school success.
Brush resources for adults with chronic health conditions are designed for the peer-to-peer setting. These resources were developed with the concept that oral health, mental health, and other life circumstances are intertwined and that it is important to address them together in a holistic approach.
McMillen Health’s Brush Oral Health Program for children from birth to 5 offers low-literacy educational oral health resources for organizations serving low-income children and families. Since 2017, WIC staff across Michigan have received the Brush Early Childhood Oral Health Curriculum training to integrate oral health education and dental referrals into the nutrition education provided to mothers with young children.
The collaboration between Michigan WIC, McMillen Health, Altarum, and the Delta Dental Foundation has sought to increase oral health education and dental visits of Medicaid-covered young children by addressing two issues in preventing dental decay in early childhood. First, by helping parents understand the importance of oral health care and starting dental visits by age one. Second, by being able to give targeted dental referrals to WIC parents for dentists who accept Medicaid and will treat very young children, especially in rural locations where pediatric dentists are not common.
In 2019, Delta Dental claims data showed 40% of one-year-olds and 31% of two-year-olds who are covered by Medicaid visited a dentist after receiving a referral through WIC, compared to just 11% and 17%, respectively, in the control group.
WIC staff participate in a comprehensive two-hour training and receive a Brush WIC Resource Kit. The kit is designed to help WIC staff start a conversation with motivational interviewing questions about the importance of oral health care through an interactive flip chart. The curriculum in the flip chart helps fight the myth that going to the dentist during pregnancy is unsafe—in fact, the opposite is true! The curriculum also includes a focus on oral health care for babies, even before the first teeth erupt. WIC staff learn how to demonstrate brushing techniques with large-scale props and reinforce key concepts using low-literacy parent handouts. The WIC Resource kit also includes a digital link to a fun video titled My Healthy Teeth and printed, or digital, access to three early childhood oral health books written by McMillen Health.
To learn more about McMillen Health’s Brush oral health resources, visit brushdental.org or contact (888) 240-7268.