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Editorial | Start kids early on dental health | Editorials

 


Some of our veteran readers may recall brushing their teeth with pink dye – designed to find plaque and potential cavity areas – and popping delicious fluoride tablets during their primary school days.

The idea was to help kids establish healthy habits for their teeth and gums to guard against problems later in life.

That was the message of Sunday’s installment of the monthly “Health Matters” series, with experts sharing through reporter Randy Griffith that developing good habits early on can lead to a healthier adulthood, and that includes dental health – often linked to other wellness areas.

Griffith cited the Department of Health and Human Services’ “Oral Health Strategic Framework” report, which says: “The consequences of poor oral health have a negative influence on children’s speech, growth, function and social development. Total health and wellness cannot exist without oral health, and the two are closely linked.”

Professionals at the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health offered these pediatric dental care tips for parents:

• Preventing cavities and other problems for children means brushing twice a day, using antibacterial mouthwash, flossing regularly and seeing a dentist twice a year.

• Problems can develop as children sleep if sugars – including from foods, juice, milk or formula – are not brushed away before bedtime.

• Breast-feeding is a good first step toward oral health.

• Children should see a dentist within six months of popping a first tooth, and then begin regular visits by three years of age.

• A balanced diet – with fruits, vegetables, grains, milk and proteins – is not only good for overall wellness, it will also help with dental care.

“The same kinds of foods and eating that leads to obesity can lead to poor dental health as well,” Dr. Jeffrey Cook of Pediatric Care Services said.

“Poor lifestyle and poor diet in general causes both problems.”

We’re hoping this is some healthy-living advice parents can sink their teeth into – for the sake of their children.





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