Colleen Fermon, Director
25 Green St.
Ipswich, MA 01938
Monday, Feb. 12, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Ipswich Public Health Reminds Residents about National Children’s Dental Health Month
IPSWICH — As part of National Children’s Dental Health Month, the Ipswich Public Health Department would like to remind residents about the importance of proper dental care at a young age and to share information about the annual dental clinic for kids.
In order to keep your children’s smiles happy and healthy into their adult years, it is important to start practicing healthy oral practices at a young age.
“Good dental hygiene practices including regular dental visits are vital to prevent cavities, tooth decay and detecting oral health problems,” said Ipswich Public Health Director Colleen Fermon. “We encourage residents to follow these guidelines, as teaching children about oral health at a young age is important to make sure they continue healthy habits as they grow older.”
In order to help your children develop healthy habits at a young age, Ipswich Public Health recommends the following tips from the American Dental Association:
- Use fluoride toothpaste. Decay can happen as soon as teeth first appear. If you see some pearly whites peeking out when your little one smiles, it’s time to pick up a tube of fluoride toothpaste.
- It doesn’t take much to clean your child’s teeth. Until you’re confident that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush. If your child is 3 or younger, use a smear of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). For children 3 or older, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste will do.
- First tooth or birthday, first dental visit. Your child’s first dental visit should take place after their first tooth appears, but no later than the first birthday. As soon as your baby has teeth, they can get cavities.
- Kids need to floss too. It doesn’t matter if you clean between your child’s teeth before or after they brush as long as you clean between any teeth that touch. You can use child-friendly plastic flossing tools to more easily clean between your child’s teeth until your child learns to do it.
- Prevent baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth (but other teeth may also be affected). Frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar can cause tooth decay. This can happen when the baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby.
- Keep their mouths clean. The next time your child’s pacifier goes flying, don’t pick it up and put it in your mouth because you think that makes it cleaner. Cavity-causing bacteria can be passed through saliva, so you could actually be introducing germs to your child instead of protecting him or her from them. The same goes for mealtime. It can be second nature to offer a bite of your food to your baby from your fork or use their spoon to make sure their food is ready to eat. Keep your utensils, and your germs, separate for a healthy mouth and body.
- Water works. When your child is thirsty, water is the best beverage, especially if it has fluoride. Drinking water with fluoride (also known as “nature’s cavity fighter”) has been shown to reduce cavities by 25 percent.
- Seal out decay. Brushing and flossing go a long way to protecting your teeth against cavities, but sealants form an extra barrier between cavity-causing bacteria and your child’s teeth. School-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and ADA’s Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80 percent in molars.
- Baby teeth are very important. They help your child chew, speak and smile. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crooked or crowded. That’s why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come.
In conjunction with the Ipswich Public Schools, the Ipswich Public Health Department will be holding its eighth annual free dental clinic for children on Thursday, April 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ipswich Town Hall, 25 Green St. in room C.
The free preventative care clinic is provided by the Polished Teeth team, based in Southbridge, and includes free dental screenings, cleanings, sealants and fluoride treatments for children. Adults are also able to receive a screening and cleaning for a discounted rate of $49.
The dental clinic is available by appointment only. For questions or to schedule an appointment please text Ellen at 508-237-5378 or email [email protected].