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(Placerville, CA) – February is National Children's Dental Health Month. The El Dorado County Public Health Division's Oral Health Program is focused this month on reminding children and parents that good oral health starts early and includes healthy choices. "While going to the dentist for regular check ups and cleanings is always important for children, paying attention to things such as the drinks they consume can also make a huge difference for good oral health," said Andrea Lindner Jones, Health Educator with the Oral Health Program.
According to Lindner Jones, regularly encouraging children to drink water instead of sugary drinks such as soda is one way to make a positive difference in a child's oral health. "Sugar binds with bacteria and forms acid which attacks teeth and continues to do so for up to 20 minutes after consuming sugary drinks," said Lindner Jones. "The acid formed by sugar dissolves the outer surface of tooth enamel, causing cavities to form and damage the teeth. Tooth decay can also lead to more serious oral health issues. Avoiding sugary drinks is an important key to good oral health for everyone and especially children."
Data from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows that more than half of children aged 6 to 8 have had a cavity in at least one of their baby (primary) teeth, and more than half of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have had a cavity in at least one of their permanent teeth. Children aged 5 to 19 years from low-income families are also twice as likely (25%) to have cavities, compared with children from higher-income households (11%).
Tips for good oral health include the following:
"Fluoride can also help prevent about one-third of cavities in primary teeth," said Lindner Jones. "If water is not fluoridated, supplement with regular fluoride applications and/or use toothpastes that contain fluoride."
The Oral Health Program (El Dorado Smiles) serves El Dorado and Alpine counties, and works with community health, youth and service organizations, private dentists, schools, and local community groups to improve the oral health of residents. During Children's Dental Health Month, the program will be conducting numerous outreach events throughout the counties and providing health education materials to Early Learning programs, among other activities.
Ongoing school-based dental programs in El Dorado County include a children's dental van that rotates to various schools to serve children in need, and in-class screenings for Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Additional information about El Dorado County's Oral Health Program can be found online at https://edcgov.us/Government/PublicHealth/oral-health-program. Members of the Oral Health Team can also be reached by phone at (530) 621-4000 or by email at ElDoradoSmiles@edcgov.us.
The Public Health Division and Oral Health Program are part of the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). For more information about the many programs and services of HHSA, please visit: http://www.edcgov.us/hhsa.
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