Parent Resources

What is text4baby?

Text4baby is a free cell phone text messaging service for pregnant women and new moms. Text messages are sent three times a week with information on how to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. The text messages are timed to the pregnant woman’s due date or the baby’s date of birth.

The free text messages provide tips on subjects including breastfeeding, car seat safety, developmental milestones, emotional well being, exercise and fitness, immunizations, labor and delivery, nutrition, prenatal care, safe sleep, and stop smoking. The text messages also provide 1-800 numbers and other resources to learn more.

Launched in February 2010, over 281,000 had enrolled by the end of January 2012. Ninety-six percent of enrollees report that they would recommend the service to a friend.  How do women learn about text4baby?

Women can learn about text4baby from over 700 partners who have signed up to help promote text4baby. Partners include health plans, city and county health departments, telecommunication companies, federal and state government agencies, corporations, local and state and national nonprofit organizations, federally qualified health centers, colleges and universities, tribal agencies, healthy start programs and coalitions, head start/early head start programs, hospitals, health delivery networks, professional associations, and clinics. Or visit text4babyExternal Web Site Icon.

Who leads text4baby?
Text4baby is an education campaign of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB). HMHB works with a broad range of partners to encourage the women they reach to take advantage of this free service. CDC, as an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, is one of over 700 partners supporting text4baby.

Are the text messages in English and Spanish?
Yes. The text messages are in English and Spanish. Participants can sign up for text4baby in English by texting BABY to 511411. They can sign up for text4baby in Spanish by texting BEBE to 511411.

How long will women receive free text messages?
Text4baby is designed for pregnant women through their pregnancy and the first year of their baby’s life.

To stop receiving texts from the text4Baby service, users simply text the word STOP to 511411 from the same phone they use to get the messages.

Children's Oral Health

Cavities (also known as caries or tooth decay) are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.

  • About 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.1
  • 1 of 7 (13%) adolescents aged 12 to 19 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.1

The good news is that cavities are preventable. Fluoride varnish can prevent about one-third (33%) of cavities in the primary (baby) teeth.2 Children living in communities with fluoridated tap water have fewer cavities than children whose water is not fluoridated.3 Similarly, children who brush daily with fluoride toothpaste will have fewer cavities.4

Dental sealants can also prevent cavities for many years. Applying dental sealants to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth prevent 80% of cavities.5

What Parents and Caregivers Can Do

For Babies:

  • Wipe gums twice a day with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and right before bed to wipe away bacteria and sugars that can cause cavities.
  • When teeth come in, start brushing twice a day with a soft, small-bristled toothbrush and plain water.
  • Visit the dentist by your baby’s first birthday to spot signs of problems early.
  • Talk to your dentist or doctor about putting fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.

For children younger than 2, consult first with your doctor or dentist regarding the use of fluoride toothpaste.

For Children:

  • Brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Drink tap water that contains fluoride.
  • Ask your child’s dentist to apply dental sealants when appropriate.

If your child is younger than 6, watch them brush.  Make sure they use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spit it out rather than swallow.  Help your child brush until they have good brushing skills.

For Pregnant Women:

When you are pregnant, you may be more prone to gum disease and cavities, which can affect your baby’s health.  Follow these 3 steps to protect your teeth:

  • See a dentist (it’s safe!) before you deliver
  • Brush twice a day
  • Floss daily

If you have nausea, rinse your mouth with 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water after you get sick.  This helps wash stomach acid away and keep your tooth enamel safe.

(CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)