Early childhood

Early childhood educators can play an important role in promoting young children’s oral health. Whether you work in child care, kindergarten or community programs, you will find information below to help you improve oral health in your service and community.

Oral health promotion programs

Healthy Families, Healthy Smiles

Healthy Families, Healthy Smiles logo

Healthy Families, Healthy Smiles is a Dental Health Services Victoria initiative aimed at improving the oral health of Victorian children aged 0–3 years and pregnant women.

Part of this work is with early childhood professionals including child care educators, supported playgroup facilitators, family support workers and early intervention services, to increase knowledge, skills and confidence to promote oral health within their services.

Learn more about Healthy Families, Healthy Smiles

Smiles 4 Miles

Smiles 4 Miles logo

Smiles 4 Miles is an oral health promotion initiative implemented in early childhood settings in partnership with local organisations. Inclusion of an oral health program within early childhood settings such as kindergartens, play groups, long day care and family day care contributes significantly to outcomes for children.

Learn more about Smiles 4 Miles

Achievement Program

Achievement Program

The Achievement Program supports early childhood service to create healthier environments and recognises their work to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities.

DHSV helped to develop the benchmarks for healthy eating and oral health.

Healthy Eating Advisory Service

The Healthy Eating Advisory Service provides free information, training, menu assessments and support to help early childhood services provide and promote healthy foods and drinks.

HEAS is run by Nutrition Australia Vic Division, with support from the Victorian Government.

Learn more about the Healthy Eating Advisory Service

Oral health training and education

Early childhood services

The Healthy Little Smiles education program consists of an oral health promotion resource kit and a two hour workshop for early childhood educators. The program supports long day care, family day care and kindergartens to engage children and families about oral health and embed oral health promotion within their services.

For more information contact the Healthy Families, Healthy Smiles Team.

Please register to access the online 'Good habits for healthy teeth' resource kit

Early Parenting Centres

Supporting oral health in the Early Parenting Centre is an online training course for Early Parenting Centre clinicians, developed by DHSV's Healthy Families, Healthy Smiles program. The course is designed to build the capacity of Early Parenting Centre clinicians to promote and support good oral health among families.

To access the course, click here.

For more information contact the Healthy Families, Healthy Smiles Team.

Resources for you

Keeping Teeth Healthy social media kit

This kit contains 6 social media tiles promoting our our key messages of Drink well, Eat well, Clean well. You can share these tiles and the recommended captions with families with young children via social media, newsletters and parent portals.

Keeping Teeth Healthy social media kit

Oral health newsletter inserts for early childhood services

A series of inserts for early childhood services to use in newsletters for families to promote key oral health messages. Includes a how to use guide and images.

Read the oral health newsletter inserts

Suggested oral health story books

These are just a few suggestions for books that will help you to introduce discussions with children about the importance of teeth and how to look after them.

Read the book list

Healthy Eating and Oral Health in Early Childhood Services Infographic

When it comes to helping children reach their fullest potential healthy eating and oral health are key. As an early childhood service, you don't have to do it alone when embedding these values into your programs. There are plenty of organisations that can help you build a healthy eating and oral health culture into all areas of your early childhood service.

Looking for inspiration? Well Matron Swinton Child Care Centre in Warrnambool did just that!

Read their case study to see how they used several organisations (including the Healthy Eating Advisory Service, the Achievement Program, Smiles 4 Miles and the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation) to help the children in their service establish healthy eating habits and meet their learning and development needs.

Finally, check out our infographic that shows how these Victorian organisations can support your early childhood service with healthy eating and oral health. Whether you use one or all of us, we are here to help!

Information for families

Keeping Teeth Healthy 0-5 years

Toothbrushing with your baby (0-18 months) YouTube videos - in 15 languages

Toothbrushing with your toddler or pre-schooler YouTube videos (18 months-6 years) - in 15 languages

How to brush guide (includes denture care)

Caring for gums and teeth 0-6 years

Tooth tips 0–12 months fact sheet

Tooth tips 12–18 months fact sheet

Tooth tips 18 months - 6 years fact sheet

Translated oral health information

General dental health advice

Full DHSV resource library

Useful links

DHSV is a content partner with the Better Health Channel and Raising Children Network. More information about oral health can be found at these websites. Use the search terms ‘teeth’ or ‘dental’.

Eat for health website

Rethink Sugary Drink - find out how much sugar is in various drinks

Related pages

Top 10 oral health tips for pre school children