Feb 172014
 

It’s February, and the American Dental Association is sponsoring the annual National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about oral health.

Teaching children good oral hygiene habits early in life can lead to a healthy smile for decades to come.

Parents can visit the ADA website for free online resources from coloring and activity sheets to advice about concerns from thumbsucking to sealants. The website, MouthHealthy.org, has information on developing healthy habits for everyone, at all stages of life.

A balanced diet is important for a child’s growth and development and should include fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy and lean proteins.

Take the fact or fiction quiz on the website to test your knowledge on oral health. For example, diluting fruit juice with water doesn’t make it less sugary. A popular saying is “Snack and sip all day? Risk decay” Try and rinse your mouth with water after you eat something sweet. Water is better than juice for hydration and nutrition.

Another fact: A baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaws at birth. And the baby teeth that begin coming through the gums at about six months help prepare for future smiles by keeping space in the jaw for adult teeth. It’s important to keep the teeth strong, healthy and cavity-free.

The ADA reminds everyone that developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental check-ups helps children get a good start on healthy teeth and gums for life. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day.

If you don’t have a regular dentist, the ECU School of Dental Medicine is here to help.

The dental school in Greenville is accepting new patients for ECU’s pre-doctoral and resident clinics. Make an appointment for a screening by calling 252-737-7834 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The school’s Community Service Learning Centers in Ahoskie and Elizabeth City are also open. The Ahoskie clinic can be reached at 252-332-1904, and the Elizabeth City clinic is at 252-737-7250.  

 

 

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