Dental News

New Dental Care Book for Reading Challenged Provides Help With #1 Childhood Disease


La Habra, Calif. – March 15, 2004 – A new dental care book, written at the 3rd to 5th grade reading level, was released today to help reading-challenged parents ward off the most common childhood disease – tooth decay. Tooth decay is 5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever. The American Medical Association has called tooth decay the No. 1 preventable health issue in children.

What To Do For Healthy Teeth, published by the Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA), provides simple and practical dental care information for the whole family, with an emphasis on childhood prevention programs.

“Today, nearly 20 percent of children between ages 2 and 4 get cavities. By the time a child is 8, more than 50 percent will have already had cavities. This is totally preventable with the right education and dental screening programs,” said Gloria Mayer, Ed.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., president of the nonprofit organization.

The book is authored by dentist Sadie S. Mestman, D.M.D and Ariella D. Herman, Ph.D., research director at The Anderson School at UCLA Citing that more than 90 million Americans have low literacy issues, Dr. Mayer’s organization has spearheaded a drive to provide easy to read and easy to use health care books to populations with the highest need for services and least access to care. What To Do For Healthy Teeth is the fifth book in the IHA’s “What To Do For Health” series.

“In the instance of dental care, poor children are 12 times more likely to experience restricted activity days due to dental disease than higher income children. Providing parents in lower-economic situations with educational materials they can understand will help reverse this situation,” said Dr. Mayer.

The 208-page paperback book is published in oversized print with generous line spacing that makes it easier to read, and uses common conversational words without the use of medical jargon. The book also provides action-oriented “What to Do” sentences and simple illustrations throughout to make it easy for readers to put the new information to use right away. Each topic is presented in a logical, step-by-step format that answers the most common and important questions from parents. Topics include child tooth development at different ages, illness and teeth, facts about seeing the dentist, as well as chapters devoted to dental care issues in adulthood.

“By learning basic dental care techniques early on, families can save years of serious health issues for their children,” said Dr. Mayer “That is why we are reaching out to this population and offering this book which bridges that gap and provides important information in a way that is simple to follow and put to use.”

“What To Do For Healthy Teeth” sells for $12.95 for individual copies or can be purchased in large quantities at a discounted rate. A Spanish version of the book will be available summer of 2004. For more information or to order the book, call (800) 434-4633 or go to and click on the “Bookstore” link.

The “What To Do For Health” books series includes What To Do When Your Child Gets SickWhat To Do For Teen HealthWhat To Do When You’re Having A Baby, and What To Do For Senior Health, all of which are available on the IHA Web site. All titles are available in English or Spanish, and the Sick Child and Senior books are also available in Vietnamese.

The Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA) is dedicated to advancing healthcare delivery through demonstration of innovative healthcare practices and education of healthcare professionals and consumers. The Institute has a particular emphasis on health literacy, publishing its award-winning “What To Do For Health” books, and hosts an annual Health Literacy Conference each May in Anaheim, Calif., for healthcare providers and educators. IHA provides healthcare information through its various publishing efforts, the World Wide Web, and its renowned local and national education programs. It also operates the Friends of Children Health Center, providing free medical and dental care for needy and uninsured youngsters in La Habra, Calif.