As part of Children’s Dental Health Month in February, Dental Associates’ three Fox Valley clinics taught 1,604 area youngsters how to care for their teeth. In dental terms, that’s a total of 32,080 very important baby and permanent teeth.
Altogether Dental Associates clinics throughout Wisconsin reached 11,155 youngsters. Teams from the company’s practices in Appleton, Greenville, Green Bay, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Waukesha, Franklin, Sturtevant and Kenosha visited daycare centers, YMCAs, preschools and elementary schools throughout the state to teach children the importance of dental health and show them how to properly take care of their teeth. As part of the visits, each child received a dental kit that included a new toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss and dental care information.
Educating children early and often is vital since the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reports that more than 50 percent of children will be affected by tooth decay before age five. In addition, a study from the Office of the Surgeon General notes that 51 million school hours are lost each year to dental-related conditions.
The impact of poor oral health goes far beyond the pain of a sore tooth and missed school days. Since a cavity is an infection of the tooth, it makes children more vulnerable to ear and sinus infections and other health issues.
“More and more research is showing the importance of early pediatric dental care for children,” says Thomas Manos, D.D.S, M.S., president of Dental Associates. “That’s why we’re so passionate about spreading the message that children’s teeth need dental care even before they turn one year old. Early attention and intervention can help avert a host of problems.”
During the classroom presentations, dental assistants showed children the keys to oral health – brushing twice a day for at least two minutes, flossing and seeing a dentist twice a year for checkups. They also addressed the importance of a healthy diet and encouraged youngsters to avoid sugary snacks and sweet drinks like juice and soda since those products simply coat teeth with sugar. The students learned that fruits, vegetables, water and milk are the best choices.
“Despite what some people think, baby teeth are very important for children. They help children speak clearly, chew naturally and provide a path for permanent teeth to follow,” says Dr. Manos. “They also create a beautiful smile that helps children feel confident.”