Our Story

The Program

Tiny Teeth Healthy Habits is a comprehensive, sustainable, collaborative community approach to parent education.

The Tiny Teeth Healthy Habits Program: 

 Offers well-designed, memorable educational materials that are easy for parents and caregivers to understand and use.  
Pulls in the outreach capabilities of social care agencies to distribute educational materials to every family, demonstrate and encourage their use, resolve problems and answer questions.
Engages the medical and dental communities to lend their expertise to the message. 
Promotes creative problem-solving to overcome obstacles to accessing regular dental care. 
Integrates with existing programs, sustaining at a minimal cost after training and initial implementation. Saves children from pain, embarrassment and developmental delays.
“With Tiny Teeth in our town, dentists are seeing far fewer cases of tooth decay with an approximate savings to our county of $85,000 per year. Even more important is that our children are healthier.”  
- Rebecca Scott, Tiny Teeth Coordinator  

To see an evaluation of the Tiny Teeth program, browse the report.

About Us
Early in 2002, in Arkansas City, Kansas, dentist Dr. Nick Rogers became alarmed by the number of children under three years old who came into his office with most of their teeth decayed.

Fixing the oral health problems for these children involved hospitalization and removal of the affected teeth. Surgery is the least painful way to restore children's teeth when there is severe decay. However, as with any medical procedure, it does carry some risk."“It hurts me to see so many children suffer so early in life, when a little prevention could have allowed them to have healthy teeth,” said Dr. Rogers. He approached Legacy, a Regional Community Foundation and asked for help.  A team was formed to address the problem. After careful study, the team identified parental education as a top priority for reducing the number of caries in the 0-3 age population.  A plan of action was formulated, extra funding provided by the United Methodist Health Ministries Fund, and educational materials were designed.

Tiny Teeth Healthy Habits was created in collaboration with the educators, medical professionals, stakeholders and early childhood specialists who deal with children and children’s issues every day.  Area parents shared information about what families need to know, how it should be delivered and what materials would be most helpful. As the materials for Tiny Teeth were being prepared, many agencies and care-providers dealing with babies and toddlers were asked to join the effort and help educate parents.  At every turn, the team found eager cooperation. 
Examples of partner agencies include:
  • Parents As Teachers
  • Health Department WIC and Healthy Start Programs
  • Head Start
  • Daycare Providers
  • Reach Preschool (An infant-toddler program)
  • Hospitals
  • Faith-based parent education programs
  • Libraries
Once materials were completed, each and every partner agency received materials to share with parents.  Dentists and medical doctors were briefed on the program.  They received special materials and some instruction from a pediatric dentist.  Dentists were included in every step of the process as advisors and partners.  Those dentists who agreed to participate became part of a referral system and accepted appointments with participating families.

After two years of saturation, Tiny Teeth Healthy Habits had made a striking impact on the community.  All parents who had contact with one of the Tiny Teeth partners had been exposed to the oral health information.  Best of all, dentists were seeing considerably fewer extreme cases of caries in their smallest clients. 

This website is funded by United Methodist Health Ministry Fund