Nashville, TN – Most people know brushing and flossing teeth and regular visits to a dentist are important for maintaining dental health. But did you know simply drinking tap water can help you keep a sparkling smile?
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and the Tennessee Department of Health is reminding parents and caregivers of the importance of teaching children good health habits that can help keep both them and their teeth healthy.“Babies are born without tooth decay, and we want both baby and adult teeth to be cavity-free as they grow so they can have strong teeth for life,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH.
“Our teeth are meant to last a lifetime, and a healthy smile is important to a child’s self-esteem and success in school and career. With proper care including a balanced diet, brushing, flossing, limiting sweets, fluoridated water, dental screenings, cleanings and sealants, parents can help children build the foundation for healthy and strong teeth that can last for 100 years,“ stated Dreyzehner.
This year’s theme for Children’s Dental Health Month is “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile.” Not only is water a better choice for dental and overall health than drinks with added sugar such as soda and sweetened juices, tap water with fluoride can protect teeth by preventing cavities.
“Oral diseases are among the most prevalent health problems in Tennessee and affect a significant number of children and adolescents in every county of our state,” said TDH Oral Health Services Director Veran Fairrow, DDS. “TDH supports and promotes community water fluoridation as an important measure to protect health by preventing the problem of tooth decay.”
Community water fluoridation has been cited by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the top ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century for reducing the amount of tooth decay people experience.
Good attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health and overall health throughout a person’s life.
The American Dental Association recommends these habits for both children and adults to help keep teeth healthy:
- Brush teeth with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes, two times each day
- Clean between your teeth every day
- Limit snacks and eat healthy meals
- Visit your dentist regularly
The TDH Oral Health Services Section provides programs for preventing oral disease and education on the value of good oral health. This team also identifies those without access to dental care and attempts to assure both basic care and treatment for those with acute dental conditions. Learn more at http://tn.gov/health/section/oralhealth
The American Dental Association has materials available to help promote National Children’s Dental Health Month and good dental health habits. Find posters, children’s activity sheets and more online at www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month.
About the the Tennessee Department of Health
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments.
Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.