Back to school with a healthy smile is al­ways a good start

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Leth­bridge County - Jenna Sim­mons is a den­tal hy­gien­ist with Al­berta Health Services. She can be reached via e-mail, jenna.sim­mons@ahs.ca

Start school off right this year, with a healthy smile! Tooth de­cay leads to around 19,000 children in Canada be­ing put un­der gen­eral anes­thetic in Canada.

This does not in­clude the many hours that are missed from school and spent in emer­gency rooms. In most cases, tooth de­cay is pre­ventable!

Tak­ing your children to the den­tist is important! The Cana­dian Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion rec­om­mends that children should have their first visit to the den­tist by age or one year - or six months af­ter their first tooth erupts.

“Start School Smil­ing” is a pro­gram be­ing of­fered to Grade 1 stu­dents from Septem­ber 15 to Oc­to­ber 31 2018. This cam­paign is a joint ef­fort be­tween the Al­berta Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion and Col­lege, and your den­tist that is de­signed to pro­mote over­all oral health. Den­tists can vol­un­teer to of­fer a free den­tal check-up and X-rays to any Grade one stu­dents. Call your den­tist to see if they are par­tic­i­pat­ing and to book your ap­point­ment. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.den­tal­healthal­berta.ca/in­dex/Pages/home

Al­berta Health Services will again be of­fer­ing the “Flu­o­ride Var­nish and Sealant Pro­gram” in se­lect schools and we en­cour­age ev­ery­one in kin­der­garten, Grades 1 and 2 to sign up for the Oral Health Pro­gram. Watch for the Al­berta Health Services Oral Health Pro­gram con­sent form(s) from your child’s school. The Start School Smil­ing pro­grams and the Al­berta Health Services Pro­grams are unique and do not re­place each other.

Say yes to healthy snacks! Pack­ing snacks and lunches can be tricky. Avoid­ing sticky and sug­ary foods like candy, dried fruit and fruit snacks is a great way to pro­tect your child’s teeth. Even sim­ple starches like crack­ers, pret­zels and chips can cause de­cay as they break down. Crunchy food is the best, like fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles. Hard cheese, whole grains and yo­gurt are also great for teeth! Get into the habit of drink­ing wa­ter for thirst and send­ing wa­ter in­stead of juice.

Make brush­ing and floss­ing a habit! Brush­ing twice a day is very important, as well as floss­ing at night. Let your kids pick out a tooth­brush and tooth­paste that they love. If this is a dif­fi­cult time for you it is okay to of­fer bribes and prizes! It is rec­om­mended that when brush­ing the teeth of a child ages one to three years, use a rice- sized amount of tooth­paste. Children over age three re­quire a pea-sized amount. In­vest in an elec­tric tooth­brush. They make plaque re­moval eas­ier for ev­ery­one! Be­fore your child has a tooth, be sure to wipe in­side their mouths us­ing a clean wash cloth.

Al­berta Child Health Ben­e­fits is for fam­i­lies with limited in­come that may not have in­surance or money to go to the den­tist or other med­i­cal providers. For any more ques­tions please visit em­ploy­ment.al­berta/hb-pol­icy or call 1-877-4695437. Al­berta Health Services also of­fers a free den­tal screen­ing and flu­o­ride for el­i­gi­ble children ages 12-35 months. Please call your lo­cal health unit with ques­tions or visit www.ahs.ca/oral­health.

JENNA SIM­MONS

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