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February 21, 2014

Illinois Department of Public Health Promotes Oral Health During National Children’s Dental Health Month

SPRINGFIELD – In recognition of National Children’s Dental Health Month, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) 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 schools 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 Dr. 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 IDPH Division of Oral Health Chief Dr. David Miller.  “However, cavities left untreated can cause infections 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, and check teeth regularly for spots and stains.

Toddlers to Teens
• Brush teeth with a fluoride toothpaste; floss between teeth.
• Eat healthy foods and limit sweet snacks and drinks.  This includes power drinks.
• Schedule regular dental check-ups.      

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

Providing educational health information is one way IDPH is working toward becoming the state’s leading public health authority, and implementing IDPH’s Five Year Strategy.  For a copy of the strategic plan, go to http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/StrategicPlan_Final_2014-2018.pdf



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