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Keep Your Kids Smile Intact

Keep Your Kids Smile Intact

Over last two years, thousands of poor Miami-Dade County learners have got an extra ingredient to their regular recipe of writing, reading and arithmetic and that is dental health.

Sponsored by Children's Trust, the students in the Head Start programs have been receiving dental tests as well as fluoride varnishes at completely free of cost. The students are also learning how to brush their teeth - tooth by tooth, back and forth.

Luisa Utset-Ward, a participating dentist with this program named as PATCH said that she does not think number of children along with their parents realize that the oral health is a very important part of overall good health. And, therefore dental care often gets neglected.

Luisa Utset-Ward, who also volunteers as a faculty for University of Miami, said the problem is that the parents are unaware about how to take proper dental care of their children.

Romer Ocanto, the chairman and associate professor of Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Nova Southeastern University also supported the fact and said it is true that parents often just do not know about their children's proper dental care.

Tips and useful information on dental care for the parents

  • Every year students miss over 50 million school hours throughout the nation because of dental problems, as reported by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
  • Parents should start visiting dentist twice per year to check up their children's dental health. And, it should be started at the age of 1.
  • Parents should assist their kids to brush their teeth up to the age of 8 years.
  • Since, young kids are not always able to brush their teeth properly, parents can use fluoride varnishes to help prevent teeth cavities. They should be given the dose that is similar to mouthwash and obtainable in different flavors; once after every 6 months.
  • Most of the health insurance plans do not provide dental coverage. Only few insurance providers provide coverage to the children having coverage under Medicaid.

The country in decay

Nationally, 25% of the total number of children between the age groups of 2 and 5 contain symptoms of teeth decay; while, 50% of the children between the ages of 12 and 15 show signs of teeth decay, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the last two years, Utset-Ward treated over 5000 students and has found that 57% of those children have dental troubles including gingivitis, cavities and teeth decay. Those children with dental problems were mostly referred to their respective dentist, but the statistics revealed that very few of them; only 9% were completely treated, 24% were partly treated and 67% were not treated at all.

According to Michelle Floyd, the assistant professor of pediatrics department at University of Miller School of Medicine, Miami, since dental care is an expensive procedure, parents often ignore it. And, the school needs medical exams, but it does not need any dental exam.

She added that if the children with dental troubles are kept untreated can suffer from severe infections as well as other medical problems. She advised the parents to not to wait till it's late. Leaving untreated the dental problems can get worse.

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