NORTHERN MICHIGAN – February has been named National Children’s Dental Health Month.
This month-long national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers, and many others.
February is also an important time to increase the focus on the value of regular dental check-ups and a balanced diet. We also want to remind parents that children can avoid cavities and maintain good oral health by brushing, flossing, rinsing, and choosing healthy snacks.
The Central Michigan District Health Department staff would like to let the community know that we can provide oral screening and varnish applications for children 6 months to 35 months who are enrolled in our WIC programs and/or are eligible for Medicaid insurance coverage. Registered Nurses can also provide oral screenings twice a year for those without a dental home to determine the need for a referral to a dentist for evaluation and follow up care.
Oral Screening and Fouride varnish applications
Varnish applications will be performed to those clients up to four times per year, who are at high risk of dental cavities and gum disease, and who are not currently receiving treatments through a regular dentist. The goal of the Oral Screening and Varnish Application Program is to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride varnish is endorsed by the American Dental Association and is approved by the FDA.
To keep your young child’s mouth healthy:
• Place only formula, milk, or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice, or soft drinks.
• Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottles before going to bed.
• If your child uses a pacifier, provide one that is clean—don’t dip it in sugar or honey, or put it in your mouth before giving it to the child.
• Encourage children to drink from a cup by their first birthday and discourage frequent or prolonged use of sippy cups.
• Serve nutritious snacks and limit sweets to mealtimes. Older children should follow the same rules of regular brushing, flossing, dental visits, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding sugary beverages like juice and soft drinks. Sugars and starches encourage the production of plaque which can attack tooth enamel.