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February 22, 2011

For More Information Contact

  • Melissa Artrip, dental hygienist, LENOWISCO Health District, 276-298-5909
  • Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, 540-381-7100, x 151 or 540-580-2960

FEBRUARY IS CHILDREN’S DENTAL HEALTH MONTH

(WISE, Virginia) – The LENOWISCO Health District is pleased to remind parents and children’s caregivers throughout our area about National Children’s Dental Health Month.  Sponsored by the American Dental Association (ADA) each February, the purpose of this recognition month is to better educate ourselves about the importance of good oral health for children.

Developing good habits at an early age, including regular dental visits, helps children get a good start on oral health. The most common dental problems that our children have are dental decay, gum disease and misalignment of the teeth,” said Melissa Artrip, RDH, dental hygienist for the LENOWISCO Health District. “Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent many of these problems. Early tooth loss as a result of dental disease can result in misaligned teeth, impaired speech development, inability to concentrate in school, and is linked to problems with self-esteem.”

Parents are encouraged to brush or clean their child’s teeth when the first tooth appears. Clean teeth surfaces with a soft brush and a small amount (no bigger than a pea) of toothpaste, or a baby washcloth. A child’s first visit to the dentist should occur around the child’s first birthday. During this initial visit, the child will receive an examination and information on oral care, with a focus on prevention. Counseling on oral hygiene, fluoride, diet, oral habits and dental injury prevention is also included in the first visit.

There are several common risk factors that contribute to a child’s development of dental disease (cavities). By taking early and regular steps in caring for their child’s teeth and gums, parents can help to control and reduce many of these factors. The most common risk factors leading to dental disease are:

  • permitting your baby to go to sleep with a bottle (or fall asleep while nursing);
  • past or present history of decay;
  • significant visible plaque;
  • frequent between meal snacking especially of high sugar food and beverages (soda, fruit juice, etc.); and
  • orthodontic appliances that are not properly maintained.


Diet is an important factor in oral health. Diets high in refined sugars and saturated fats are more likely to promote dental disease. Modeling healthful behaviors for children, eating more healthful foods, drinking beverages low in sugar, and brushing and flossing regularly are good for both parents and children.

Local health departments are pleased to be working with schools in the district to provide dental care at the elementary and middle schools in the county.

For more information concerning oral health programs in the LENOWISCO Health District, please contact Melissa Artrip at 276-298-5909 or visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/LHD/lenowisco/index.htm.

 

Last Updated: 07-30-2011

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