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21 MDS celebrates National Children’s Dental Health Month

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- February is National Children's Dental Health Month, a celebration of oral health awareness for infants, kids and teens.  Keeping a child's smile happy and healthy begins at home with proper guidance, and by following some simple tips, parents can help their children retain their beautiful smile for years to come. 

The American Dental Association sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month each February because developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. The month is a time for parents and kids to learn about good oral health habits, such as how to properly brush and floss. 

Dental care is one of the most prevalent unmet health needs among American children, with cavities and gingivitis among the most common dental problems.  Caught early and treated, they are easily corrected and do not turn into more severe problems that cause unnecessary suffering.  Dental disease can lead to difficulty eating, sleeping, paying attention in school and smiling.

Did you know?
- Tooth decay is the No. 1 chronic illness in children
- 51 million school hours are lost each year to dental problems
- Research shows that if a child's tooth decay goes untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, speech problems and even loss of self-esteem. 

Reduce your children's risk of tooth decay with these tips:

- Sugary foods and drinks should be consumed with meals. Saliva production increases during meals and helps neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth.
- Limit between-meal snacks. If kids crave a snack, offer them nutritious foods.
- If your kids chew gum, make it sugarless.  Chewing sugarless gum after eating can increase saliva flow and help wash out food and decay-producing acid.
- Monitor beverage consumption instead of soft drinks all day. Children should also choose water and low-fat milk.
- Make sure your children brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily and eat a balanced diet.
- Schedule regular dental visits.

In honor of NCDHM, the 21st Medical Squadron Dental Clinic at Schriever Air Force Base will be hosting events throughout the month to help parents and kids learn about good oral health habits:

- A visit to the Child Development Center 9-11 a.m. Feb. 13
- A visit to Ellicott Elementary School
- An informational booth on children's dental health information at the clinic's front lobby
- Check out the MDS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SchrieverClinic, Schriever Sentinel and base public website during the month of February for articles and tips on children's dental health
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