February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. We all know the Tooth Fairy is there for when kids lose a tooth. She leaves behind a prize, but the real value is knowing the importance of good oral hygiene for kids. That’s where the Tooth Wizard and Plaque Man come in. The duo is a creation by Delta Dental’s Land of Smiles program.
The Tooth Wizard and Plaque Man visit schools around the state, teaching kids in Pre-K through third grade about the importance of brushing and flossing. Tooth decay is five times more likely to happen to a child than developing asthma. But the condition is highly preventable.
The Tooth Wizard describes their program as a live action cartoon, teaching kids lessons in good oral health. They use oversized models of teeth and toothbrushes to reinforce the practice. Advice includes brushing in small circles at least twice a day, flossing and using mouthwash. The Wizard also tells kids to eat healthy foods and visit the dentist two times a year.
The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. So bad oral health can have a huge impact on other areas.Tooth problems can cause self esteem issues for children. Poor dental care also leads to bad nutrition and sleep problems among children and long term effects include heart disease. All of this can be prevented with regular brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist.
Tooth brushing should begin as soon as teeth start appearing. Regular dental visits should happen at age one. Dental Safari Company in Marion reaches out to all children in southern Illinois. Every child is eligible for the services provided by the mobile dentist office. The group specializes in examinations, cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants. The dental hygiene programs at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and John A. Logan College in Carterville also provide free or low cost exams and cleanings for children in need.
Protecting a child’s smile has never been more important or so easy. Professionals around the region can help insure a happy and healthy future. And never forget the saying “ignore your teeth and they’ll go away.”