Tag Archives: dental health

National Children’s Dental Health Month: Protect Your Dental Health

“Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth for a healthy smile.” That’s this year’s slogan for National Children’s Dental Health Month, which runs throughout February.

It is important to practice good health in an effort to enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Here are a few things you should do to protect your oral health:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Clean between your teeth daily.
  • Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
  • See your dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral disease.

DHEC wants your child to have a healthy smile!

By Adrianna Bradley

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) wants parents to help their little ones brush up on oral health.

Although it’s preventable, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children. When left untreated, tooth decay can cause pain and infections that can lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing and learning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that children who have poor oral health tend to miss more school days and receive lower grades than children who don’t.

Good dental habits start at home

DHEC encourages parents to support good habits at home, such as brushing teeth twice a day and visiting the dentist regularly, so children can have healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime. DHEC’s Division of Oral Health collaborates with the S.C. Dental Association and the Columbia Marionette Theatre to support a traveling puppet show called “Flora and Floppy go to the Dentist.” The purpose of this interactive show is to teach children what they need to do to have healthy smiles.  Some of the key messages in the puppet show are brushing and flossing, going to the dentist, drinking water with fluoride, getting dental sealants, and eating healthy foods.

“The Flora and Floppy puppet show has been able to reach over 35,000 children in schools and Head Start centers across the state with a positive oral health message since it began in 2007,” said Dr. Ray LaLa, director of the Division of Oral Health at DHEC. “The ability to deliver key oral health messages in an entertaining way is an extremely effective way to reach young children and their families.”

Tooth decay a problem among children

Even though tooth decay has been on the decline for the past 30 years, it is still prevalent in children ages 6 to 19. South Carolina’s Oral Health Needs Assessment in 2012 showed a decline in untreated decay, but there is still work to be done, particularly in the more rural areas of the state. For example, over 40 percent of the students screened in 2012 showed they had some form of decay, either treated or untreated. Consistent preventive messages and public health interventions such as community water fluoridation can go a long way to improve the oral health status of children in South Carolina.

Steps to take to protect children’s dental health

Here are some useful tips for parents and caregivers to help protect their children from future dental issues.

  • Oral care begins with wiping out the mouths of infants with soft cloth even before the first tooth arrives.
  • Once teeth arrive, brush your child’s teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day. Children under age 3 should use a smear of toothpaste, and children over age 3 should use a pea-sized amount.
  • Children should be supervised when brushing their teeth until age 6-8.little-girl-brushing
  • Children should visit the dentist regularly beginning at age 1.
  • Talk to your pediatrician, family doctor, nurse or dentist about putting fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears in the mouth.
  • Limit sugary snacks and drinks.
  • Talk to your child’s dentist about dental sealants. Sealants protect teeth from decay.
  • Have your child drink tap water that contains fluoride. If you have well water, you can contact your water utility company and request a copy of the utility’s most recent “Consumer Confidence Report.” This report provides information on the level of fluoride in your drinking (tap) water.

A healthy mouth is an important part of overall health. To learn more about Children’s Dental Health Month, please visit http://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month.

This Week at DHEC

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National Wear Red Day

 

 

A roundup of some of the ways we’re working for Healthy People and Healthy Communities.

Plantation Pipe Line Lewis Drive Release

In partnership with Anderson County, we held a public meeting on January 31 to hear comments and answer questions about the Plantation Pipe Line Lewis Drive Release.

Anderson County residents packed into a school cafeteria Tuesday to complain about Kinder Morgan’s cleanup efforts at its Belton gas spill site.

Representatives of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control spent more than two hours at Cedar Grove Elementary School near Williamston. The officials gave updates, answered questions and heard complaints from Cheddar and Broadway Lake residents at the first such public meeting since the December 2014 spill.

We post regular updates about this issue here.

National Birth Defects Prevention Month

Maternal and Child Health Planning and Evaluation Program Manager Vinita Oberoi Leedom share ways to improve your chances of a healthy baby.

 

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Monarch Elementary School 5th Grade Students

Good News

 

Lowcountry dentist receives special recognition

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADr. John Patrick Howard, the Director of Dental Services at Our Lady of Mercy Outreach Center on John’s Island, South Carolina, was recognized as the recipient of the 2016 Carlos Salinas award.  Dr. Howard received the award and special recognition at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Annual Continuing Education Course on “Dental Program for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Individuals with Special Health Care Needs” held on September 30, 2016. He was presented with an award and his name will be placed on a perpetual plaque displayed at the MUSC College of Dental Medicine.

“The South Carolina Dental Association, South Carolina Oral Health Coalition and Advisory Council, and Specialized Care Company established this award in 2008 to honor a dentist for excellence in providing care to and advocacy for individuals with special health care needs,” said Dr. Ray Lala, the Director of DHEC’s Division of Oral Health. “Dr. Howard has been the Dental Director at Our Lady of Mercy Outreach Center since its inception and over the span of his career has provided compassionate care for underserved and special needs populations.”

The award, in its ninth year, is named for Carlos Salinas, DMD, in recognition of his lifetime commitment to patients with special needs. Dr. Salinas was a professor and director of the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) Division of Craniofacial Genetics, Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, and director of MUSC’s Craniofacial Anomalies and Cleft Lip and Palate Team. He was with the College of Dental Medicine for 35 years before his passing in 2015.