A Reminder to Parents: Early Dental Visits Essential to Children's Health

Thursday, February 14, 2008 General News
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February is National Children's Dental Health Month and the Michigan Dental Association Offers Tips for Parents, Coloring Contest for Kids

LANSING, Mich., Feb. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --February is National Children's Dental Health Month and to celebrate, the Michigan Dental Association (MDA) is sponsoring a statewide coloring contest for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. This year's contest theme is "Want a healthy body? Start with a Healthy Mouth." Prizes will be awarded in each grade for the most creative entry.

For a copy of the coloring contest picture and entry form, contact a Michigan Dental Association member dentist; visit the MDA's Web site at http://www.smilemichigan.com.; or contact April Stopczynski at (517) 372-9070, ext. 417, or astop@michigandental.org. All entries must be postmarked by March 7, 2008. Winners will be notified by April 1, 2008.

Tooth Decay Remains Most Common Childhood Disease

As tooth decay rises among the nation's preschoolers, the Michigan Dental Association hopes that National Children's Dental Health Month will serve as a reminder to parents to begin dental visits with their children before the first birthday.

Oral health is such an important part of a child's overall good health, and yet it can be overlooked in young children," said Steve Dater, DDS, president of the 5,600-member Michigan Dental Association. "Good oral health practices should begin with an introductory dental visit before a child's first birthday. Children's teeth are meant to last a lifetime" Dr. Dater said, "and with proper care, a balanced diet and regular dental visits, children can have a lifetime of healthy smiles."

Tips for Parents to Prevent Tooth Decay:

-- Begin oral care early. Wipe your baby's gums with a wet washcloth or a clean gauze pad after each feeding.

-- Babies and toddlers should finish their naptime and bedtime bottles before going to bed. Never allow your baby to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices or sweetened liquids, OR a pacifier dipped in sugar or honey.

-- Encourage your infant to drink from a cup by his or her first birthday.

-- Don't let your child constantly sip on sugary liquids, including milk and juice, from sippy cups. Offer these liquids at mealtimes.

-- Help your child develop good eating habits early and choose nutritious snacks and beverages.

Headquartered in Lansing, the Michigan Dental Association has more than 5,800 members in 26 local dental societies and two dental schools. Since its founding in 1856, the MDA has sought to educate the public, enhance its members' ability to provide high quality care and to promote the science and art of dentistry. For more information about the MDA call 800/589-2632 or log on to http://www.smilemichigan.com.

SOURCE Michigan Dental Association

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