Dental health affects our ability to speak, smile, eat, and show emotions. It also affects self-esteem, school performance, and attendance at work and school.

Cavities (also known as tooth decay) are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning.

Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.

The good news is that cavities are preventable. Fluoride varnish can prevent about one-third of cavities in the primary (baby) teeth. Children living in communities with fluoridated tap water have fewer cavities than children whose water is not fluoridated.

Similarly, children who brush daily with fluoride toothpaste will have fewer cavities. Dental sealants can also prevent cavities for many years.

Keep your mouth healthy. Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride, twice a day. Floss once a day before bedtime.

Eat healthy foods, like whole-grain products, dairy products, fruits, vegetables meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans and nuts. Eat fewer sweets like candy, cookies, or cake. Drink fewer sugary drinks like fruit-flavored drinks or pop (soda). Eat sweets or drink sugary drinks at mealtimes only.

Get routine preventative care.

Resources to assist with dental care: Finding a dentist:; Finding low-cost dental care: Finding dental insurance coverage: . — Sources: CDC & National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center

The Clinton County Health District is offering childhood immunizations by appointment. To make an appointment, call 937-382-7221.

Pam Daniel MSN, RN, is Health Educator with the Clinton County Health District.

By Pam Daniel

Clinton County

Health District