Monday, February 23, 2009

Follow-up: Some Help For "Mountain Dew Mouth"

In my last post I mentioned an ABC News story that referred to the poor oral health of some of the residents of eastern Kentucky. It seems as though that story motivated some people and some organizations to help to ameliorate the situation

PepsiCo, the makers of Mountain Dew, have made a promise to donate a fully-equipped mobile dental clinic to aid the residents in the area. This will be in addition to the one a local dentist is already using.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Read About What Soda Could Do To Your Teeth

I'm sure we've all heard the claim that if you leave a tooth in a glass of cola the tooth will dissolve. If you hadn't, you have now.

A few days ago I saw a news story about the incredibly bad dental health of children in eastern Kentucky. The rampant tooth decay there is being blamed partly on their consumption of large amounts of soda (specifically Mountain Dew, which has 50% more caffeine than Coke or Pepsi and is claimed to be "used as a kind of anti-depressant for children in the hills.").

A sad fact in the story is that the Central Appalachian region leads the nation in toothlessness. A bright spot in the story is Dr. Edwin Smith, who travels the area in a mobile dental clinic he financed himself. For many families, this is their only option for seeing a dentist.

Situations like this are the reason the National Children's Oral Health Foundation exists. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Help Protect Children's Teeth With Dental Sealants

We've talked about the importance of proper oral hygiene for "baby teeth." Yes, they will eventually fall out, but proper care for them sets the stage for the "permanent teeth," which are certainly not immune to decay. 

Hopefully a good brushing and flossing routine will be a habit by the time those permanent teeth arrive. They will be used for a much longer time than baby teeth. Your dentist can bolster the home care and help prevent decay by applying dental sealants to those workhorse molars. The first permanent molars typically appear around age six.

If you are an adult who is prone to tooth decay, dental sealants might be right for you as well.  Ask your dentist about them.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Brushing and Flossing Should Be Like Frog and Toad: Friends

Since my last post was about teaching your children the importance of proper brushing, I would be remiss if I didn't follow it up with stressing the importance of flossing. Just like brushing, it should be done frequently and properly. Teach your kids to floss every time they brush.

Ideally, flossing should begin as soon as there are two teeth together.  Typically, children can begin to learn to floss by themselves starting at age two or three.

To help you, has a step-by-step flossing guide for kids. We're nice like that.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Teach Your Children The Importance of Proper Brushing

While it is very important to see your dentist at least twice per year, the most important part of taking care of your teeth should be occurring at home: brushing and flossing properly and regularly. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth for at least two minutes at least twice a day. Use a timer or play a song to get your child used to brushing for the proper amount of time. Many toothbrushes have timers or lights built in to help you.  

Getting your children into the the brushing habit early can help prevent tooth decay and more serious problems later in life. It is important to set a good example, so make sure you practice what you preach.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

National Children's Oral Health Foundation

Did you know that economically disadvantaged children are twice as likely as their peers to have dental problems? It is estimated that 5 million children have dental problem that negatively impact their eating, sleeping and classroom performance.

I am on the board of the National Children's Oral Health Foundation. It is a group dedicated to getting proper dental care for children who are less fortunate. The Foundation started in 2006 and has formed a network of dental providers, non-profits and others interested in improving the overall health of children nationwide. It has started work in developing nations as well.

Contact them to learn more and to find out how you can help. Also, call your dentist's office to find out if they are involved.  If you don't have a dentist, call 1-800-DENTIST today.

Monday, February 2, 2009

February is National Children's Dental Health Month

Happy February, also known as National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM). It is a great time to make sure your family is current on visits to the dentist. 

NCDHM began as a one-day event in Ohio in 1941. It gradually expanded until it became an entire month in 1981. Many of my blog posts this month will focus on children's dentistry and oral health, from helping your own kids to ways to help those who are less fortunate.

There are many resources to help create awareness and promote good oral health for children, both at home and in school. Some can be found at  If you need a dentist for your child or for yourself, contact 1-800-DENTIST today.