February is National Children’s Dental Health Month – GO DAIRY!

By DeDe Hausman

The American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors this annual event throughout the month of February to bring awareness to American families (and policy makers) about the importance of developing good oral health habits for our kids.  It began as a one-day event in Cleveland, Ohio, on February 3, 1941, and went national with the first Children’s Dental Health Day on February 8, 1949.  It grew to its current month long celebration in 1981.

So why is it so important to have a whole month devoted to this issue?!   Many people aren’t aware the important role early dental care plays in children’s overall health.  The ADA recommends that parents take action early on in their kids’ lives to insure the health of their teeth because attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in promoting good lifetime oral health habits.  This includes annual checkups after the eruption of the first tooth and/or no later than the child’s first birthday.   Seems logical, right?!

OK, so parents should be getting their kids to use a tooth brush at a young age and especially get them to learn to brush after meals.   What else can we do for youngsters to help insure that they will have healthy teeth?

Did you know that consuming milk and other dairy products DAILY provide calcium and other nutrients which can protect against the formation of dental caries (tooth decay) in children and adults? Milk nutrients, besides calcium, include phosphorus, magnesium, and Vitamin D and they support the development of teeth and oral tissue and help protect against dental caries from a young age.  Milk is also NON-CARIOGENIC which means it helps re-mineralize teeth.   It’s also a neutral liquid for it clears the mouth faster so it’s less likely to cause tooth decay.  And, the casein proteins in milk are important for the growth, development, and repair of body tissues (teeth= body tissues) and note that casein provides a protective film for teeth enamel .

Tooth decay is a BIG health issue for kids and adults so remember these few “HEALTHY TEETH TIPS”:

  • Kids need to see the dentist by one year of age and annually after that.
  • Choose tooth-friendly foods and beverages, such as milk, flavored milk, cheese and fruits.
  • Avoid frequent intake of acid foods and drinks, limiting them to mealtimes.
  • Dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, have a low potential to cause dental caries (cavities) so should be included on a daily basis (3 Every Day of Dairy).
  • A good habit to establish at a young age: brush after every meal OR at least rinse the mouth with milk or water.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month for a great reason.  Let’s teach kids important health habits early on so that they will want to maintain them for life.  Healthy teeth: healthy bodies.


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