Experts agree that healthy teeth begin at a young age

| February 6, 2014 | 0 Comments
FORT SILL — Capt. Nathan Buckner, dental resident, demonstrates that the average soda contains about 9 teaspoons of sugar.  (Photo by Jeff Crawley, Installation Management Command)

FORT SILL — Capt. Nathan Buckner, dental resident, demonstrates that the average soda contains about 9 teaspoons of sugar. (Photo by Jeff Crawley, Installation Management Command)

BethAnn Cameron
U.S. Army Public Health Command

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUNDS, Md. — We get excited when babies get their first teeth. We want our children to grow up healthy.

Unfortunately, many parents are unaware that a child cannot be truly healthy without a healthy smile or mouth.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. We know that children with dental problems have problems eating, concentrating in class and miss more days of school than children with healthy mouths.

By eating a healthy diet, avoiding added sugars, brushing and flossing, and having regular dental visits, children can avoid cavities and get a super smile.

Keiki Dental Health
Here are some tips to ensure your child has strong, healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime:
•Prevent cavities in babies by wiping their gums with a clean, wet gauze pad or soft washcloth after each feeding (breast or bottle-fed).
•Babies should not be put to bed or allowed to fall asleep with a bottle of milk, formula or juice.
•Avoid using sweet foods or sweetened drinks to reward your child. This reminder includes beverages that are acidic, such as sodas, juices, lemonade and sports drinks.

By eating a healthy diet, avoiding added sugars, brushing and flossing and having regular dental visits, children can avoid cavities and get a super smile. (Courtesy photo)

By eating a healthy diet, avoiding added sugars, brushing and flossing and having regular dental visits, children can avoid cavities and get a super smile. (Courtesy photo)

•Make your child’s first dentist appointment as early as the first birthday. This appointment will get your child used to the dentist’s chair and will educate you on good dental health techniques.
•Learn proper brushing and flossing.
•Ask your dentist about dental sealants. They are a protective coating that helps prevent bacteria from causing tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
•Protect your child’s smile by ensuring mouth guards are used when playing sports. Mouth guards will protect teeth from getting broken and protect the face from injury.
•Teach children to say no to tobacco, which can cause tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancer.

Raise Awareness
Here are some tips to raise awareness about National Children’s Dental Health Month in your community:
•Ask health care providers to give oral health advice to their patients.
•Work with local schools and civic groups to provide presentations about oral health.
•Ask dentists to sponsor a display or a dental health exhibit at a health fair using posters and hands-on demonstrations at a library, bank or shopping center.

Lifetime Goals
Finally, use these keys for a lifetime of good oral health to get that super smile for you and your family:
•Eat a healthy diet.
•Limit snacking between meals.
•Brush gently twice daily for two minutes.
•Floss each day.
•Get regular dental check-ups.
•Avoid tobacco use.

(Editor’s note: Cameron is a health educator for USAPHC.)

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Category: Community, Health

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