Christina Milian Talks Parenting and Ending Oral Health Inequity for Kids Across America

The actress, singer, and mom of three wants all kids to have access to oral health care, so she's working to close the gap.

Poverty, which disproportionately impacts Black and brown communities, creates hurdles for kids accessing dental care. It's an epidemic that must be fixed, and Christina Milian is using her platform to raise awareness.

Growing up, Christina Milian's parents could not afford the resources to care for their family's teeth. Milian and her two sisters, who are the daughters of Cuban immigrants, couldn't see a dentist regularly. As a result, her parents raised her with as much oral health education as possible to avoid teeth decay and cavities.

Her mother and father weren't so lucky. She witnessed her mom's frequent visits to the dentist for several root canals over the years. Same with her dad. Thankfully, Milian's parents changed the trajectory of their daughters' lives through education. "It's not a DNA or generational thing; it's actually about oral health care and taking care of yourself through time," says Milian.

In her 20s, Milian became an avid oral health enthusiast. Her motivation was to avoid the difficulties her parents endured, prevent chronic health issues, and have fresh breath. She carried floss around daily and began brushing her teeth two to three times per day.

The actress recently teamed up with Oral B and Crest for the "Closing the Smile Gap" campaign to end oral health inequity for kids with little to no access to oral health care. The cause is near and dear to Milian's heart because of her upbringing. She was saddened to learn how many Black and Latinx children do not have access to oral care or products. Black children are almost twice as likely to have fair or poor oral health, and Latinx kids are nearly four times as likely to suffer as their peers. Milian partnered with Oral B and Crest to bring resources and oral health care to underprivileged youth.

For the mother of three, the partnership's goal is to positively impact the lives of these kids' oral health, self-esteem, school performance, attendance, and overall well-being.

Christina Milian
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We talked with Milian recently, who had just got done filming. Season 3 of Step Up High Water is scheduled to air on Stars early this year. Excited about her role, which packs a lot of drama and comedy, Milian is happy she could shoot the entire show while pregnant. As a mother, it was a refreshing feeling to be at that stage of her pregnancy, weeks from delivering her son, and film as a working mom.

Often, parenting ideals shift when families grow in size. Milian and her husband, Matt Pokora, were initially worried things wouldn't feel the same with their newborn baby.

"Are we gonna love him the same and feel the same way?" asked Milian.

Milian reassured her husband, and they naturally fell into a party of five. He's a great dad, and her advice for new moms of multiple children is to allow the kids to have their personalities and display their love to you as the parent, and you, in return, show them the most love you can, so they can truly shine.

One challenge the mom of three faces is trying to do everything simultaneously. Slowing down to create the space and wellness needed to keep a clear mind is vital. Milian relies on help. She puts her husband to work and calls on her mom or sitter. Once a month, she and Pokora plan a staycation. Creating a balanced lifestyle is crucial, as reflected on her Instagram profile.

"It's important to take time for yourself so you can be the best parents you can be," says Milian.

Milian took time off to support her spouse as he began working on his show for the last six months. The sacrifices needed to support the family's well-being are vital as she learned early on from her parents.

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