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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

For Children's Dental Health Month, expert tips on avoiding cavities

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Monday, February 12, 2024   

February is Children's Dental Health Month - and experts advise parents to start with the basics right away, even with newborns.

Parents should clean their baby's gums with water and a soft cloth. Once teeth emerge, use a soft bristle toothbrush twice a day with a dab of fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice.

Dr. John Blake, the executive director and dental director with the Children's Dental Health Clinic in Long Beach, said that's also the time to book the child's first dental appointment.

"They get most or all of their primary teeth or baby teeth by the time they're two years old, typically," said Blake. "So, if people wait 'til they think the child may be able to sit and have an exam, often there's already dental cavities on the teeth. So: first teeth, first visit."

Some parents may mistakenly think cavities are no big deal in baby teeth because they are going to fall out.

But decay in baby teeth may harm the permanent teeth that are developing underneath and also lead to pain, infection or even issues with speaking.

Dental decay is the most common chronic condition among children, with nearly 50% of kids having at least one cavity by age eight.

Dr. Paul McConnell is dental director with UnitedHealthcare. He said parents need to actively guide their kids on brushing and flossing correctly until they get it down pat.

"It's so much harder to start developing habits when kids are 6, 7, 8 years old because you're introducing something different or foreign," said McConnell. "So again, start when they're just born to two years old and then progressively add flossing into that routine."

Flossing is important as a lifelong habit because nearly half of adults 30 and older and 70% of people over 65 have some form of gum disease.



Disclosure: UnitedHealthcare contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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