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New Jersey Department of Health

Bedtime Bytes

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Despite the great strides that have been made over the last several decades to improve the oral health of children, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) found that caries prevalence in children between the ages of 2 - 4 increased from 18 percent in 1988-1994 to 24 percent in 1999-2004. Bedtime Bytes is a multi-focused initiative with the overarching goal of improving the oral health status of children age 0-5, assisting the family to secure a dental home and promoting the importance of a preventive dental visit by age 1.

The Bedtime Bytes: Family Oral Health Care bag will include: two child- and adult-sized toothbrushes, teeth cleaning mouth tender, dental floss and flossers, sippy cup and family focused education pamphlet. In an effort to promote the importance of a preventive dental visit by age 1, the Family Care Bag will also include the book The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist and an activity coloring book, The ABCs of Good Dental Health. A sticker put on the cover of the book will encourage parents to read to their young children for at least 15 minutes a day. Research indicates that reading daily with children provides an opportunity for bonding, builds a strong capacity for learning and improves health. Bedtime Bytes will help families establish a bedtime routine that includes tooth brushing for two minutes, flossing, using a bottle filled with water instead of juice or milk if age appropriate and reading an oral health bedtime story to reinforce the message of the importance of good oral health.