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Nevada Children's Dental Health, a Focus This Month

PHOTO: Getting children to brush their teeth and floss, and reminding parents of how the importance of oral health, are the goals of National Children's Dental Health Month. Photo courtesy North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
PHOTO: Getting children to brush their teeth and floss, and reminding parents of how the importance of oral health, are the goals of National Children's Dental Health Month. Photo courtesy North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
February 16, 2015

LAS VEGAS - Teaching young children, and reminding parents of the value of good oral health is the mission of National Children's Dental Health Month, sponsored each February by the American Dental Association.

Dr. Christina Demopolous, assistant professor with the Clinical Sciences School of Dental Medicine at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas, says about one in four children under age five already has cavities. She says taking care of teeth should start at an early age.

"We recommend they start taking care of the teeth once the teeth come in," she says. "But at least a first dental visit by the age of one."

Demopolous says good oral health means brushing teeth for two minutes twice a day as well as daily flossing and regular dental checkups.

Diet is another important factor for good oral health. Demopolous says parents should try to limit the amount of sugary foods and drinks their children consume to help avoid tooth decay. She adds that isn't the only reason for good nutrition.

"It can also help control diabetes," says Demopolous. "If a person is at risk for diabetes, or actually is diagnosed with diabetes. It can also help offset some of the problems we have with obesity, overweight, BMI scores."

Demopolous says each year the university provides millions of dollars worth of free dental services for thousands of low-income and uninsured people in the state.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV