Franklin Countys First News

Remember oral health during back-to-school time

The Maine Dental Association is reminding students and parents that during this busy back-to-school time of year, it is important to keep oral health in mind.

Dental decay is the most chronic disease among children ages 6 to 19, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. The National Institutes of Health estimate 42 percent of children 2 to 11 have some dental decay, and 59 percent of children 12 to 19 have some dental decay.

Going back to school is a great time to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes like brushing regularly into your children’s daily routine, according to MDA Executive Board President Dr. Gary Creisher.

“The good thing about getting back to school is that the children get back in a routine,” Creisher said. “Allowing enough time for brushing prior to school is an important start to every day, and scheduled bedtimes for the school year are important for needed sleep, as they make bedtime brushing easier for parents to oversee.”

The American Dental Association suggests that your child's back-to-school checklist should include:

  • Regular dental examinations to diagnose dental issues, and to treat or prevent them from happening. A dentist may suggest fluoride treatments or sealants to prevent decay and can diagnose and treat dental problems.
  • Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing. The ADA recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes, and flossing once a day.
  • Eating healthy lunches and snacks. If a child eats in the school cafeteria, review healthy, balanced food choices. Cut back on sugary foods and soft drinks.
  • Wearing a properly fitted mouthguard while participating in organized sports, physical education classes or playground activities.

Incorporated in 1867, the Maine Dental Association is a professional membership organization of licensed dentists. The Maine Dental Association exists to improve and maintain the oral and overall health of the people of Maine, serve the dentists of Maine, collectively and individually, and represent the American Dental Association at the state level. For more information about the MDA, go to www.medental.org.

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