The Importance of Good Dental Health
February is National Children's Dental Health Month, and the New Mexico Department of Health is encouraging parents to help their children develop good oral health and eating habits at an early age.
Tooth decay (cavities) is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood in the United States. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning.
"A healthy mouth is an important part of disease prevention, not just for oral health but our overall health as well," said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. "Taking care of your children’s teeth, including baby teeth, from the very start is the key to good oral health.”
Nationwide, nearly one in four children under age five has cavities, according to the American Dental Association. Hispanics, American Indians and African Americans have more oral health disease than whites. That’s because of a lack of proper dental hygiene, a lack of dental insurance and a lack of dentists, especially in rural areas.
The Department of Health’s Office of Oral Health contracts with dental providers throughout the state to provide preventive and treatment services to low income and uninsured New Mexicans. The services include dental sealants, fluoride varnish and treating dental diseases.
- To reduce your children’s risk of tooth decay, the Department of Health recommends:
- Help your children develop good brushing and flossing habits.
- Reduce consuming products made of sugar.
- Monitor beverage consumption – Instead of soft drinks all day, children should also choose to drink tap water (fluoridated where available).
- Limit between-meal snacks. If kids crave a snack, offer them nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables and during meals water or low-fat milk.
- If your kids chew gum, make it sugarless – Chewing sugarless gum after eating can increase saliva flow which helps remove food particles and reduces decay producing acid.
- Schedule regular dental visits. Have you dental provider apply fluoride varnish (pre-school aged children) and dental sealants (elementary school age and adolescents).
Please visit the Dental and Oral Health section of our website for more information.
We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.
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