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Dental Health Education and Tobacco-Use Prevention Program

The “Friends for Life” Dental Health Education Program, which consisted of dental health educators teaching elementary school children about taking care of their teeth and mouth, was eliminated in 2016.

However, Dental Health Service continues to inform county staff about the importance of oral health. Factors such as oral hygiene, fluorides, nutrition, drinking water, tobacco products, and visiting a dentist impact the health of our teeth and gums. Oral health is related to mental health, physical health, social health and economic health. It affects school performance and the ability to get a job. The good news is dental diseases are mostly preventable.

Dental Health Service offers trainings to public health nurses on the application of fluoride varnish. In many county health departments, registered nurses will apply fluoride varnish to the teeth of children to help prevent dental decay. In addition, the nurses provide dental counseling. Contact your local county health department to see if fluoride varnish is available for your child.

Dental care starts young. Here are some basic tips for parents of young children:

  • Fluorides: modalities are complementary
    • Toothpaste with fluoride: mere smear
    • Community water fluoridation: get it from the tap
    • Fluoride Varnish: 2-4 times per year, from a medical or dental professional
    • Silver Diamine Fluoride: arrest decay and stop sensitivity without drilling, from a dental professional
  • Oral hygiene:
    • Cleaning: gentle, daily, routine (can use damp cloth for babies)
    • Brushes: extra soft, age-appropriate
    • Help with brushing until about age eight
  • Dietary:
    • No juice before age one, and very limited after age one
    • No juice at bedtime, for dehydration or for diarrhea
    • No sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, sports drinks
    • Begin drinking from a cup around six months and off bottle by the age of one
    • WATER as the drink of choice
  • Model:
    • Be a good example for child
    • Find a dental home

  

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