Established in 1981, McMillen Health is a non-profit with a mission to provide vital and effective, preventive health education that promotes physical, emotional, and social well-being. Our program offerings are available to preschoolers through senior citizens. Each year we teach over 50,000 youth and adults. Early childhood education is a cornerstone of the McMillen Health’s programming.
History of the Brush! Curriculum
In 2012, McMillen Health developed the Brush!® Early Childhood Oral Health Curriculum in an effort to change children’s health status and help children enter Kindergarten ready to learn. We advocate for the establishment of a dental home by age one and promote oral health education for all who influence a child’s health status, including parents, caregivers, educators, and health practitioners.
Through discussions with regional dentists, we realized there was a need for a curriculum early childhood educators and home visitors could implement all year long, with support from McMillen Health. In collaboration with the Isaac Knapp Dental Education Foundation, we developed Brush!, an interdisciplinary oral health curriculum aimed at low-income children and their parents. Brush! provides educational and developmental experiences that improve the school readiness of underserved children.
Parent Newsletters – A Distinctive Difference!
An important component of Brush! is parent education. Parents are the drivers in whether their children brush their teeth, if they visit the dentist, and if they eat healthy foods. Starting as soon as their children are born, parents receive educational pieces monthly. These pieces are colorful, and easy to read, so parents can comprehend the materials. All parent materials are in both English and Spanish. Reinforce these messages with a weekly text message (regular data rates may apply). Sign up by texting BRUSH to 35350.
A two-hour Brush! training is available for early childhood educators, home visitors and professional staff. During this interactive training, participants learn about the state of pediatric decay in the US; how primary teeth relate to a child’s growth and development; how oral health affects school success; how to identify and prevent decay; how nutrition relates to decay; and how to use the Brush! curriculum and parent materials. A 4-hour Brush! Train the Trainer is also available for those who wish to be able to present the 2-hour Brush! training to staff in their center or organization.