Healthy Communities

Take Care of Your Teeth

Dental Sealants | Fluoride Varnish | Paint a Smile | Baby's First YearWater Fluoridation
Medical & Dental Pros | Oral Health Surveillance


Good oral health is important to your overall health. 

logo for Brush for two minutes twice a day

Oral diseases vary widely from cavities to gum disease to oral cancer. They can lead to speech problems, pain while eating, and disability. Oral health has been linked with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and pre-term and/or low birth weight babies. 

Dental decay and periodontal diseases are both preventable. A healthy smile can last a lifetime with healthy habits, such as brushing, flossing, smart food choices, and dental visits. Learn more at the American Dental Association’s website, Mouth Healthy.


Dental Sealants 

A dental sealant is a thin coating placed on the pits and fissures of the chewing surfaces of teeth where up to 80 percent of decay occurs in school children. The application requires no shots or drilling on the teeth.The surface of the tooth is cleaned well and the sealant is bonded to the tooth creating a smooth surface. Sealants prevent tooth decay by blocking out decay-causing germs from food.

before and after dental sealant placement imagesOnce applied, sealants protect against 80 percent of cavities for two years and continue to protect against 50 percent of cavities for up to four years. Dental sealants work best when applied to children who are at the highest risk of tooth decay.

Oral Health Resources:


Fluoride Varnish

Fluoride varnish is a medication painted on teeth to help prevent new tooth decay from forming and to stop more damage. Fluoride varnish has been shown to have a 38 percent reduction in tooth decay in children who are at mid to high risk for decay. image of child getting teeth examined

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association, fluoride varnish greatly works to prevent and control tooth decay. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Academy of Pediatrics strongly suggest fluoride varnish.



Baby's First Year

There are many developments that take place during a child’s first 12 months of life, such as getting their first baby teeth. Baby teeth typically begin to enter the mouth between four to six months. It is important to start children on the right path of good oral hygiene practices to ensure a lifetime of a healthy smile.Baby's first checkup logo image

Here’s what to do:


Water Fluoridation

Since 1945, much has been accomplished, mainly through fluoride, to lower the damage caused by dental decay. The cheapest way to get the benefits of fluoride to all residents is by increasing the level of fluoride in the public water supply. All drinking water water fountaincontains some fluoride. Fluoridation is the planned increase of that level to an amount proven to be safe, effective and economical in prevention of tooth decay.

What is the impact of fluoridation?

Fluoride added to public drinking water at a concentration of .7 parts per million (0.7mg/Liter) has been shown to be a safe, inexpensive, and extremely effective method of preventing tooth decay. Because public water fluoridation helps people in the community, no matter their age and status, fluoridation protects against tooth decay in areas with less access to dental services. In fact, for every dollar spent on public water fluoridation, up to $38 is saved in treatment costs for tooth decay. The Task Force on Community Preventive Services, which was created by the CDC director, reviewed public water fluoridation. The task force found in towns that started fluoridation, the decrease in childhood decay was almost 30 percent over 3–12 years of follow-up. 

Learn the fluoridation status of your water system

The Water Fluoridation Reporting System (WFRS) is for state and tribal water fluoridation program managers and oral health program directors or managers. Data from WFRS are summarized in the biennial report of national and state fluoridation statistics. 

My Water's Fluoride (MWF) allows consumers in states participating in the CDC water fluoridation data systems to learn basic information about their water system.


Community Water Fluoridation Toolkit 

This toolkit is intended to help you better learn and talk about water fluoridation in your community! What are the best messages about fluoridation? What does the science say about the importance of water fluoridation? The answers and more can be found in this toolkit. 


The ADH Office of Oral Health’s mission is to promote life-long, optimum oral health for all Arkansans through primary prevention, education, accessible and culturally competent community-based oral health care, and informed policy development. 

A number of new statewide dental initiatives have been developed through various partnerships. Read our latest Arkansas Oral Health Surveillance Plan, which outlines our initiatives to promote oral health in Arkansas. 

You can also subscribe to our quarterly newsletter to stay up to date on the Office of Oral Health’s activities.


Address Phone Fax

Oral Health

4815 W. Markham Street, Slot 18
Little Rock, AR 72205






Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
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4815 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205-3867