Tuesday, February 25, 2014
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Illinois Department of Public Health promotes oral health during National Children's Dental Health Month

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[February 25, 2014]  SPRINGFIELD In recognition of National Children's Dental Health Month, the Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging parents and caregivers to plan dental visits and discuss the importance of good oral health for their children.

"One reason children miss school is due to dental neglect. National studies show that 51 million school hours (around 10 million school days) are lost every year due to dental problems. Dental problems can affect a child's ability to speak and learn, as well as their self-esteem," said IDPH Director LaMar Hasbrouck. "Healthy teeth are an important part of overall health, and I encourage parents to take this opportunity to teach their children good oral health habits they can use throughout their lives."

Primary, or baby teeth, are just as important to keep clean, healthy and cavity-free as permanent, or adult, teeth. Primary teeth act as space holders until permanent teeth come in. If primary teeth are lost early due to cavities, the remaining teeth can move, which causes problems when permanent teeth are ready to come in.

"Dental cavities are preventable," said Dr. David Miller, chief of the IDPH Division of Oral Health. "However, cavities left untreated can cause infections (that) can spread to the rest of the body and be life-threatening.

IDPH offers the following tips to promote good oral health:


  • Clean teeth with a soft, clean cloth or a baby's toothbrush.

  • Avoid putting babies to bed with a bottle.

  • Check teeth regularly for spots and stains.

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Toddlers to teens

  • Brush teeth with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss between teeth.

  • Eat healthy foods and limit sweet snacks and drinks, including power drinks.

  • Schedule regular dental checkups.

For more information, visit http://www.idph.state.il.us/HealthWellness/

Providing educational health information is one way the Illinois Department of Public Health is working toward becoming the state's leading public health authority and implementing the department's five-year strategy. For a copy of the strategic plan, go to http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/

[Text from Illinois Department of Public Health file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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