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RBC I February is National Children’s Dental Health month. In celebration, the CNCC Dental Hygiene program coordinates with Rangely and Meeker School District students every spring to have regular cleanings, x-rays, oral hygiene instruction, sealants and fluoride for free. Health histories were sent home in January, so please fill them out and get them back to your child’s teacher, so your child does not miss this opportunity. This is a great educational benefit for our students and your children’s health. Transportation is provided through the schools (field trip).
Did you know your child’s academic performance and attendance is correlated to oral hygiene? Here are the facts of how our school aged children and their attendance to school and performance is being impacted negatively due to poor oral hygiene. “Poor oral health, dental disease, and tooth pain can put kids at a serious disadvantage in school,” according to a Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry study.
Several studies noted it is a problem for all ages. On average, elementary children missed a total of six days per year, and high school children missed 2.6 days. The missed school was due to dental problems. Additionally, this problem also causes parents to miss an average of 2.5 days of work per year to care for the children with dental problems.
Simply improving children’s oral health status may enhance their educational experiences. Unfortunately, I see many parents not attending to their children’s needs due to an array of excuses; no insurance, cost, time, uneducated or falsely thinking, “Oh, they are just baby teeth, they are going to lose them anyway.” As much as that is true, they are still very important to take care of. Parents need to assist in brushing their child’s teeth up to the age of about 10 because many children do not have the ability to clean their teeth effectively without help.
Here are tips to maintain good oral health:
• Brush teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste.
• Brush gently for two minutes with special attention to all surfaces and the gum line.
• Floss, Waterpik and/or interproximal (between the teeth) brushing at least once daily.
• Limit sugary snacks, high-starch or refined carbohydrates. Chips, pretzels, cookies, breads and dried fruits. The bacteria that causes tooth decay thrive on simple sugars.
• Limit fruit juice, milk and other sweet/sugary drinks to mealtimes. Between meals and especially at bedtime, drink water, it keeps your mouth hydrated and helps prevent tooth-decay if your community water is fluoridated properly. Fortunately, Meeker and Rangely have properly fluoridated water to help reduce the risk of cavities for everyone.
• Fluoride helps strengthen teeth from the third month of pregnancy throughout a lifetime, reducing cavities to everyone.
• Visit the dentist and dental hygienist at least annually and ideally twice per year for check-ups, cleanings and treatment of any issues when they are little issues and easier to treat.
Prevention is much easier and cheaper than treatment once the problem presents.
For more information, visit credible places like the American Dental Association website, www.ada.org, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov or the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, www.aapd.org. Also, contact CNCC Dental Hygiene for an appointment to get right direction to optimal oral health. CNCC provides oral hygiene care to all ages. Call 970-675-3250 for an appointment today. Starting March 23 Tuesday and Thursday morning appointments only, any age, are at no charge until April 28, 2020.
By KARI BRENNAN, REGISTERED DENTAL HYGIENIST
Special to the Herald Times