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Living Well In Yalobusha County

Keeping Your Child’s Smile Healthy

By Pamela Redwine

Your child’s smile is probably one of the joys of your day!  It’s not too early to teach your child how to keep teeth clean and healthy.

Clean teeth are less likely to get cavities.  Cavities can happen when starchy and sugary foods stay on and between teeth.  Plague with bacteria sticks there, too.  The longer bacteria stay there, the greater the chance for decay.

Healthy teeth:

• Help your child chew and enjoy food, help build self-esteem and bring healthy smiles

Begin tooth care early

• Before teeth appear: clean gums with a damp cloth

• When teeth appear: brush with a soft child’s toothbrush.

• When two teeth appear by each other: gently floss

• When your child is two or three: start teaching your child to brush with toothpaste.  Stay with him or her.

• Every three months to a year: have your child’s teeth checked by your child’s dentist.  Decide together on a schedule for check-ups.  Ask about fluoride supplement or about dental sealants, too.

Make good dental care a family habit!

• Brush at least two times a day. Brush after sugary or starchy snacks, too.

• Use toothpaste with fluoride.

• Floss every day

• Get regular dental check – ups.

Help your child learn good tooth-brushing habits.

• Care for your own teeth properly.  Your child will probably do what you do.

• Encourage your child to hum the alphabet song.  When the song is done, teeth might be clean!

• Get a safe stepping stool.  Your child needs to reach the sink, the toothbrush, and the toothpaste.

Make food and drink choices for healthy teeth.

• Food that stays on your teeth longer can increase decay.  Eat sticky foods, such as dried fruit and hard candy, less often.

• Eating some foods frequently increases decay.  Limit sweets, starchy foods, juice and sweetened drinks.

• Milk, cheese, and meat in your meals and snacks help protect your teeth from decay. For snacks:

• Eat cheese with fruit or vegetables.

• Drink milk with crackers, cookies or cereal.

 Brush, Brush!

Show your child how to brush teeth.  Sit low so your child can see what you do.

• Put a pea-sized dab of toothpaste on your own toothbrush.

•  Hold the brush on an angel next to your teeth.

• Gently brush your teeth on:

• The outer surfaces, which you can see

• The inner surfaces where you can’t see

• The tops where you chew

• Gently brush the top of your tongue and inside your checks, too.

• Spit out the toothpaste.  Rinse your mouth with water.

Now, give your child a turn to brush!

How well did you brush?  Find out!  Mix food coloring and water in a cup. Then swish it around your mouth. Wherever color sticks to your teeth, brush more.  Plaque and food particles still hide there!

National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) turns 60 this year. Each February, since 1949, the American Dental Association (ADA) has sponsored National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health

Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

Article Source: “Nibbles for Health” and the American Dental Association


Recipe of the week

Sweet Potato Sticks

4 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds) peeled

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Cooking Spray


1.Preheat oven to 400°

2. Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Cut slices into 1/2 inch wide strips.  Place potato strips in a large bowl.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with cheese; toss well.  Arrange potato strips in a single layer on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned, stirring every 10 minutes.  

Yield 8 servings

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