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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
February 15, 2001
Oral health important for children
PECOS, February 15, 2001 - February is National Children's Dental Health
Month, but in children good oral care is critical every day. The first
comprehensive study on the nation's oral health released recently by the
Office of the U.S. Surgeon General calls dental and oral diseases a "silent
epidemic," even in children. The report states that more than 51 million
school hours are lost each year to dental-related illness. In fact, a recent
study pointed to dental care as the most prevalent unmet health need among
To help counter this, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP)
is launching an effort to educate children and parents about the prevention
of dental diseases _ including periodontal disease _ in children.
"This is important because oral problems can impact self-esteem for
children and lead to problems eating, speaking and attending to learning,"
said Michael McGuire, D.D.S., president of the AAP.
Common dental problems seen in children are cavities and gingivitis,
which is found in the majority of U.S. children. "When these problems are
not caught early and treated, they can develop into more severe problems
and cause unnecessary suffering," said McGuire. "However, much of the time,
oral problems are avoidable problems."
In the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, a group of more than 120 dentists
volunteer to deliver dental care to thousands of low-income children each
year with its Mobile Dental Unit that travels from school to school.
"In the Rio Grande Valley, dental disease is the number one cause of
absenteeism among elementary school children," said AAP member David Woolweaver,
D.D.S., a periodontist and the program director for Dentists Who Care.
"It's vitally important that all children see a dentist at an early age.
I've found that those children who see a dentist on a regular basis are
the ones who take better care of their teeth and gums and don't have the
significant problems that I often see in children who haven't seen a dentist
"According to the Surgeon General's Report, about 37 percent of children
have not had a dental visit before starting school," said McGuire. "When
children don't see dental professionals they miss the opportunity to have
problems caught early before they escalate into larger, more expensive
problems to treat, and parents miss the opportunity to learn how to promote
good oral habits in their children."
In addition to advising regular dental visits that include a periodontal
examination, the AAP offers these tips to parents to help ensure good oral
health in children:
Establish good oral health habits early. When your child is 12 months
old, you can begin using toothpaste when brushing his or her teeth. However,
only use a pea-sized portion on the brush and press it into the bristles
so your child won't eat it. And, when the gaps between your child's teeth
close, it's important to start flossing.
Serve as a good role model by practicing good oral health care habits
Check your child's mouth for any signs of gum disease, including bleeding
gums, swollen and bright red gums, gums that are receding away from the
teeth and bad breath.
Make sure your child consumes a balanced diet. Studies have shown insufficient
levels of calcium and vitamin C may make people more susceptible to periodontal
Educate your child regarding the health risks of using tobacco products.
Smoking is the number one preventable risk factor for periodontal disease.
Call 1-800-FLOSS-EM to request a free brochure that provides instructions
to help your children brush and floss properly or visit the AAP's Web site,
which has posted a special section on children's oral health, at www.perio.org
for more information.
The American Academy of Periodontology is a 7,500-member association
of dental professionals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment
of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth and
in the placement and maintenance of dental implants. Periodontics is one
of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.
Gordita plate sale planned
PECOS, February 15, 2001 - A Gordita Plate Sale will be held from 10 a.m.
until 2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 16, at Santa Rosa Hall.
Plate comes with: two gorditas, available with chile verde con carne
or asado, rice and beans, for $4 a plate. Individual gorditas will be available
For orders call the hall at 445-2302.
The fundraiser is sponsored by the Prayer Group.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise