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Carroll County Health Department: Dental health month focuses on importance of water

The Carroll County Health Department’s Oral Health Program, with its partners the Maryland Department of Health, Office of Oral Health and the American Dental Association, is proud to announce February as National Children’s Dental Health Month. This year’s focus is, “Water, Nature’s Drink.”

Why Water? With our bodies composed of approximately 60% water, and with water covering 71% of the Earth, water truly is nature’s drink. In fact, it’s estimated that the human body cannot go without water for more than three days! In addition to helping keep our bodies healthy, water is also great for our teeth, as it doesn’t contain harmful sugars that cause cavities, and can help wash away dangerous plaque and food particles that cling to our teeth.

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In many communities, fluoride is added to the public water supply. This is to increase the strength of our teeth. In fact, adding fluoride to water is estimated to prevent cavities in children by 25%. This solves many problems, as children miss an average 2.1 school days each year due to dental health problems.

Water not only helps keep our outsides clean, but it can also be used to keep our insides clean, too! Water helps our kidneys flush out certain toxins, which is why drinking water every single day is essential to our health.

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Though we’ve been taught throughout our lives that eight glasses of water per day is the goal we should be aiming for, current science says that we should be drinking is between half an ounce to an ounce of water per pound of weight, so if your child weighs 60 pounds, he or she should be drinking between 30 to 60 ounces of water each day.

Ultimately, drinking water, in conjunction with an excellent oral health routine, should help reduce your and your child’s risk of cavities and other oral health problems.

Our dental clinic is seeing children under the age of 18 and appointments are available for those who qualify with Maryland Healthy Smiles insurance.

Dental disease can be transmitted from family members to children, so it is important for mothers to maintain their oral health to aid in prevention of dental decay in their children.

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Young children that don’t even have teeth yet need to have their mouths cleaned on a daily basis and those who have even one tooth should see the dentist for an evaluation and discussion regarding diet and oral cleaning routines.

We are now seeing pregnant women with Maryland Healthy Smiles insurance. Dental decay is a problem during pregnancy and good oral health care helps the mother have a healthier pregnancy and healthier baby.

Adults with financial limitations are not left out of our programs. We have a program called “Dental Access” in which a person who falls below the 185% of the Federal Poverty level, has no dental insurance and lives in Carroll County can qualify for a 35% discount at their local dentist.

The Health Department is available to assist with the referral of those who are currently using tobacco products and wish to quit.

There are many online resources available for families to learn more about dental health. Adults and children can visit the Maryland Office of Oral Health website at https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/oralhealth/Pages/home.aspx for downloadable information, activity sheets, brochures, resources and interactive games. Other helpful resources are found at www.mouthhealthykids.org from the American Dental Association and www.healthyteethhealthykids.org from the Maryland Dental Action Coalition.

For further information about any of our Health Department programs or for a clinic appointment, please call us at 410-876-4918. Please note that during the COVID pandemic certain screening requirements apply and only one parent or guardian is allowed in the facility with the child.

Thomas H. Downs, DDS, is manager of the Oral Health Program at the Carroll County Health Department.

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