DHA-H sheds light on health of keiki’s teeth

| February 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

Dr. Katie Egbert
Tripler Dental Clinic
HONOLULU — Did you know that dental decay, or cavities, is the most common chronic disease in children? It is five times as common as asthma.
It is estimated that 51 million school hours per year are lost because of dental-related illnesses.

2017_NCDHMposter_lettersizeEarly tooth loss caused by cavities can result in failure to thrive, impaired speech development, absence from and inability to focus in school and decreased self-esteem. These are just some of the  reasons Dental Health Activity-Hawaii (DHA-H) is placing emphasis on the dental issues facing our children.

Dental Health Month
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, or NCDHM, and the DHA-H has big plans for this year.

NCDHM commemorates its 68th anniversary in 2017, and its theme is “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile.”

In adherence to NCDHM tradition, during February, the dental profession will focus on oral health education, early childhood caries, sealant education, tooth decay, tobacco use, fluoride treatment, children’s nutrition and sports guards.

To observe NCDHM throughout Schofield Barracks, this year’s program includes dental health team visits to Peterson Child Development Center and Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School. Students will learn about oral hygiene, dental screenings, educational videos and hands-on activities. Every child will get a new toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss.

DHA-H will also attend Solomon Elementary School’s career day.
It is DHA-H’s aim to educate communities about dental health because healthy habits and attitudes started early in life pave the way to healthy smiles for years to come.

Prevention tips
The following are tips from the American Dental Association in case of a dental emergency with your child.
•Keep the phone number of your child’s dentist (and an emergency number where the dentist can be reached after hours) with other emergency numbers.
•For toothaches, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to remove any food or other debris that may be caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth. This could burn the gum tissue.
•For a knocked-out (avulsed) tooth, try to find the tooth. Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse the root in water if the tooth is dirty. Don’t scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments.
If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket while you head to the dentist. If that’s not possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and bring it to the dentist.
Time is critical for successful re-implantation.
•For a broken tooth, rinse the mouth with warm water. Use cold compresses on the outside of the cheek to reduce the swelling.
•For a possible broken jaw, apply cold compresses to control swelling. Get to the hospital emergency room immediately.
(Editor’s note: Egbert is a pediatric dentist at TAMC Dental Clinic.)  

The DHA-H team will visit Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School’s Pre-K and kindergarten classes on Feb. 14, 16 and 21. It will visit the Peterson Child Development Center on Feb. 23.

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Category: Health

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