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Children's Dental Health

The Cambridge Public Health Department's Healthy Smiles program provides free oral health education and screenings to children in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade in all Cambridge public, parochial, and charter elementary schools. The program also offers this service to Cambridge preschools.

Healthy Smiles has been enormously successful in identifying Cambridge children at risk for dental disease. More than 3,100 elementary school children, preschoolers, and toddlers are screened each year. During the 2014–2015 school year, about 1 in 4 children was referred to a dentist for treatment.

The program was established in 1997 after a needs assessment by Dr. Chester Douglass of Harvard School of Dental Medicine found that nearly a third of Cambridge first graders had untreated cavities.

Dental Health Tips for Parents

Parents who develop good oral health habits for their babies and toddlers, including regular dental visits, are giving their children a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Here are some simple things parents can do:

  • Make sure your children are brushing twice a day, in the morning and evening.
  • Every child should visit a dentist by their first birthday, and twice a year after that.
  • Tap water is a good source of fluoride. Bottled water doesn't contain enough to prevent tooth decay.




Dental Care Tips


Dental Activities


Last revised on July 17, 2018



For more information about children's dental health and the Healthy Smiles program, please contact:

Marlena D. Wilson, RDH, BS
Oral Health Specialist
Healthy Smiles Program
Cambridge Public Health Department



Cambridge Public Health Department
119 Windsor Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
617-665-3826 (main)
617-665-3800 (main)
617-665-3888 (fax)
617-643-0744 (TTY)

Hours: Monday-Friday:
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
After Hours

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Claude-Alix Jacob
Chief Public Health Officer



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