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Fun a Factor for Children's Dental Care

Thursday, March 6, 2008 General News J E 4
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NEW YORK, March 5 MS -- Keeping up with a kid is no easyfeat. Most parents know that a child is a bundle of energy with an attentionspan that lasts mere minutes -- if you're lucky! So when it comes to teachingchildren the lessons of being an independent person -- such as personalgrooming habits -- there are distinct challenges. But with a little patienceand a dash of fun, no task is insurmountable.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080305/NYFNSU03)

More Cavities in Young Kids Means Better Brushing Needed

There is growing evidence that children's dental health is an area onwhich most families need to focus more attention. Dentists say they aretreating more and more young patients who have cavities in their primaryteeth. A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study reports thatalmost a third of all kids between 2 and 5 have cavities in their baby teeth.Experts attribute the trend to several factors, including an upsurge insugared snacks, juice and soda consumption, the rising use of bottled,non-fluoridated water, and the fact that children simply don't spend enoughtime brushing teeth.

Many people are under the assumption that oral hygiene is not somethingthat really needs to be worried about in young kids. After all, baby teethwill eventually fall out and new teeth will grow in their place. But this isfar from the case. The American Dental Association (ADA) says that cavities inbaby teeth can cause a number of problems, including tooth loss, ear andspeech problems, crooked permanent teeth, severe pain, poor self-image, andtooth decay. That's why the ADA recommends starting children's dental carewhen they are still babies. A dentist's visit should occur by age 1. Brushingshould begin at age 2 and be supervised until a child is 6 or 7.

Beating Brushing Blues

The recommended brushing time to get teeth clean is a minute for the toparch of teeth and a minute for the bottom. So how does a parent get theirchild to cooperate? Make it fun, says Dr. Fresh, the maker of the FireFly(R),a bright and sparkly children's toothbrush that lights up and flashes.

The FireFly toothbrush was developed when Dr. Fresh (yes, he is a realperson) could not get his young daughter to brush for long enough. To inspire"psychological compliance," he basically took the LCD light out of a pair offancy sneakers and put it in the bottom of a regular toothbrush. With moreresearch and development, he created the FireFly, which uses the same"blinking technology" in a durable, ergonomically designed toothbrush forkids.

"Most of us underestimate how long a minute really is," says Dr. Fresh.And a minute can seem interminable for an active child looking to move on tohis or her next activity.

The FireFly, which blinks for 60 seconds, is a way to instill theone-minute each arch brushing routine. Have children press the button to startthe LCD light housed safely in the handle of the toothbrush. Once the lightstops blinking, it's time to move onto the other row of teeth. Push the buttonagain to activate the light.

Other Dental Tips

But oral care doesn't end with brushing alone. Dr. Fresh offers additionaladvice.

The best way to impart lessons of oral care is to show by example. Make itfun and educational for children and they'll be more inclined to follow along.For more information on the FireFly toothbrush and other Dr. Fresh funproducts, visit www.drfresh.com.-- Forgetting floss? Children should also floss regularly -- as early as when they have two front teeth erupted, say experts. Flossing is really important for molars because they are generally closer to each other than the front teeth. Again, until they reach the age of 6, you will have to help them. Gently lift the floss up between teeth towards the gum and all the way through to the inside of the mouth
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