Tag Archives: oral 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 in the News: Flu, National Children’s Dental Health Month, treatment for babies born to drug-addicted mothers

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

South Carolina sees first child die from flu this season

A child who has died in the Midlands from complications associated with the flu is the first pediatric fatality reported to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control this flu season.

Health information privacy laws shield hospitals and agencies from revealing patients’ county of residence and age.

“We extend our condolences to this family and all families in South Carolina who have suffered a loss during this flu season,” said Lillian Peake, DHEC director of public health.

Local church bumping elbows during ‘sign of peace’ instead of shaking hands, hugging during flu season

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The flu continues to sweep the nation and now it’s causing some churches across the country to take precautions. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is calling this flu season the worst it’s been in nearly a decade. As the numbers of flu related deaths continue to rise, churches across the country are altering their services to prevent passing the virus. One local church in Myrtle Beach is doing something unique. Surfside United Methodist Church encourages elbow bumping at the beginning of the service during the passing of the peace and at the end of service, all in an effort to prevent spreading germs.

S.C. dental health needs a brush-up

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month – and South Carolina needs to take notice.

Reports show some children are missing hours of school each year because of oral health problems, causing them to lose out on critical instruction time. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging parents to turn their little ones into scholars by helping them improve their oral health habits.

Born addicted: Greenville hospital pioneers new way to treat babies in withdrawal

A baby born to a drug-addicted mom can suffer tremors, sleeplessness, muscle stiffness and other symptoms of withdrawal.

She might wail uncontrollably, be unable to relax or refuse to eat.

She might even have seizures.

And the traditional medical response has been to allow these infants to go into full withdrawal before treating them, said Dr. Jennifer Hudson, medical director of newborn services at Greenville Memorial Hospital.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

DentalHealthMonthFebruary is National Children’s Dental Health Month and DHEC’s Division of Oral Health, is reminding  parents their children can avoid cavities by practicing good oral health.

Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth daily, eating a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks, and seeing your dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral disease are the keys to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

This year’s slogan is “brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth for a healthy smile.”

In support of a positive preventive message, DHEC’s Division of Oral Health and the South Carolina Dental Association, in collaboration with the Columbia Marionette Theatre, will provide free puppet shows to school-age children across the state during the month of February. Oral health-related events will also be taking place at EdVenture Children’s Museum as part of their annual Take Heart and Smile Month. To learn more, visit edventure.org.

Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children to get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Please go to the SC Dental Association website to find a dentist near you.

Charleston Water System and SCDHEC Unite For Community Water Fluoridation

Bet you didn’t know that the Charleston Water System (CWS) and the S. C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Division of Oral Health, work together to provide public health benefits.

In what way you ask?

Recently the two organizations worked together to adopt a position statement supporting community water fluoridation. Fluoride is commonly found in water but most of the time, not enough to make a real impact.

Although oral health in the United States is much better today than it was many years ago, cavities are still one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), community water fluoridation is the most cost-effective way to deliver fluoride to people of all ages, education levels, and income levels who live in a community.

Fluoride has been proven to protect teeth from decay as well. Although fluoride-containing products, such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and dietary supplements areFlouridation Graphic25percent available and contribute to the prevention and control of tooth decay, community water fluoridation has been identified as the most cost-effective method of delivering fluoride to all, reducing tooth decay by 25 percent in children and adults.

Following the recommendations of many other organizations such as the World Health Organization, American Medical Association, Canadian Medical Association, CDC, American Dental Association, Canadian Dental Association, South Carolina Dental Association and other professional organizations in the medical community, the CWS works to adjust the naturally occurring level of fluoride in our drinking water in a responsible, effective, and reliable manner that includes monitoring and controlling fluoride levels as mandated by state and/or federal laws, regulations and recommendations.

For more information on what DHEC does to support community water fluoridation in local communities, contact Wes Gravelle.

References: 1 Griffin SO, Regnier E, Griffin PM, Huntley VN. Effectiveness of fluoride in preventing caries in adults. J Dent Res. 2007;86(5):410–414.

Flouridation Large Infographic

Get regular oral exams for early detection of oral cancer

By Adrianna Bradley

DHEC urges you to proactively fight oral cancer by getting regular screenings.

It’s estimated that over 900 people in South Carolina will be diagnosed with oral cancers and cancers of the throat, tonsils and back of the tongue in 2017 alone and 180 will die from oral cancers.  These cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women. They are about equally common in blacks and in whites.

“Regular visits to your dentist or physician is the best method to help detect oral cancer in its early stages,” said Dr. Ray Lala, director of DHEC’s Division of Oral Health. “Oral cancer is a highly preventable disease and very treatable if caught early.”

Oral cancer is most commonly diagnosed in people who are 50 or older, but HPV-related oral cancers are often detected in younger people.

Your mouth is one of your body’s most important early warning systems. Don’t ignore any suspicious lumps or sores that last more than two weeks. If you discover something suspicious, make a dental or medical appointment for an examination. Early treatment is the key to recovery.

Here are some tips on how you can take an active role in preventing oral cancer:

  1. Brush and floss your teeth regularly. An unhealthy mouth reduces your immune system and obstructs your body’s ability to fight off bacteria.
  2. Ditch the tobacco. Whether you smoke it or chew it, your risks for cancer increases dramatically. Call the S.C. Tobacco Quitline today at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-900-784-8669). For services in Spanish, call 1-855- DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569).
  3. Limit your alcohol consumption. The risk of developing oral cancer increases with the amount and length of time alcohol products are used.
  4. Limit your sun exposure. Always use UV-A/B blocking sun protection on your lips when you are in the sun. Repeated exposure increases the risk of cancer on the lips.
  5. Exercise regularly. An active lifestyle can boost the immune system and help fight cancer.
  6. Choose cancer-fighting The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends eating lots of beans, berries, dark green leafy vegetables, flaxseed, garlic, grapes and tomatoes for their role in cancer prevention.
  7. See your dentist regularly. At least every six months, visit a dental hygienist and ask for an oral cancer screening to be done.
  8. Conduct self-examinations. Check the back and sides of your tongue. If you see or feel anything suspicious like lumps, bumps or tender areas, make an appointment to visit your dentist or doctor.

Visit the DHEC website for more information about oral cancer.