National Children's Dental Health Month
The Florida Department of Health (DOH) joins the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Florida Dental Association (FDA) in celebrating National Children's Dental Health Month. The Department of Health encourages proper oral health maintenance as part of daily health promotion and prevention.
"The Department of Health provides numerous educational resources for parents and guardians seeking to teach their children about the importance of dental health," said Deputy State Health Officer Bonita Sorensen, M.D., M.B.A. "I encourage all Floridians to share this knowledge with their children and loved ones to promote proper oral health."
National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM) is a yearly observation which provides oral health education to children of all economic status. "Give Kids a Smile" is the centerpiece of National Children's Dental Health Month and provides education, preventive and restorative care to low-income children who otherwise may not receive care. In Florida, the 2007 Give Kids a Smile event will gather more than 330 FDA dentists, plus hygienists, assistants, and other volunteers at various locations such as county health departments, college training programs, and private dental offices to provide care to more than 3,000 children. Services provided throughout the month include free dental exams, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, sealants, simple extractions and oral health education.
DOH recommends the following tips and treatments to prevent tooth decay:
Fluoride: Makes teeth stronger and protects them from tooth decay. Professionally applied topical fluoride therapies include fluoride varnish, fluoride gel in trays, and fluoride mouth rinse.
Sealants: Plastic coatings placed on posterior teeth to protect deep pits and grooves from decay.
Daily Oral Hygiene: Brushing twice a day with a soft toothbrush for two minutes with a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque. Parents should supervise children until they can brush well and rinse out all toothpaste, usually around ages 6-8. Toothbrushes should be replaced when the bristles fray.
Diet: Maintain healthy eating, low-sugar snacks, and avoid sweets that stick to teeth. It is especially important to provide good oral health care to children taking sugary medicines and children with special needs.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be seen by a dentist by age one to assess risk of early childhood cavities. Parents and guardians should continue to maintain regularly scheduled dental check-ups.
DOH promotes and protects the health and safety of all people in Florida through the delivery of quality public health services and the promotion of health care standards.