In this health video learn about general oral care for children and receive tips for good dental health.
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Female Speaker: Teacher Heather Gabso has some fun planned for her first-graders today. The teacher is making a game out of kids' oral health, passing out kits that involve them in the learning process. The kits are compliments of Crest, as part of the company's first grade dental health education program. Heather Gabso: It's a great way for the children to really interact with a dental health program and it's very hands on. And it says plaque is invisible. And it can cause cavities. Female Speaker: These first graders get a little background first, then they watch as Heather uses an egg carton to demonstrate proper technique. The program materials also include free toothbrushes. Heather Gabso: First you're going to take your toothbrush and you're going to brush under and out. Female Speaker: Now that the children know what to do, they chew little red tablets that highlight the trouble spots. Everywhere they see pink, that's bacteria. Okay, with the enemy in sight it's now the students' turn to try. Dillan Hockzema steps to the sink, and goes to work. He's using a kid-sized brush with soft bristles. Dr. Gregory George: And soft bristles are better because they won't damage the gums, whereas a stiff bristle may damage the gums. It's going to turn the child off from brushing, and they're not going to want to participate. Heather Gabso: Raise your hand if you can tell me why it's so important to floss. Female Speaker: Ah yes, flossing. It's as important as brushing. If they don't do it, your children will still get cavities. To prevent this, don't wait to start a program of oral hygiene. Here's what to do. Wipe your baby's gums with gauze three times a day to clean away bacteria. When the first baby tooth comes through probably at about six months you can start using a brush, but without toothpaste. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing toothpaste at around age two. Parents need to be there helping their kids with brushing at least until age eight and children may need help flossing until age eleven. Scott Hockzema: I had a lot of cavities and so I try and teach them, the better care they take care of their teeth the kids the less time in the dentist's office they'll have. Female Speaker: The family uses an American Dental Association approved fluoride toothpaste. That's important for strong teeth. But children under six tend to swallow the paste, and too much fluoride can permanently stain teeth. So never use more than a pea-sized amount on the brush for them. To get off to a good start, your child should start oral examinations by about age three. However, your pediatrician will monitor your child's dental health after about age one and if necessary, will refer him to a pediatric dentist. Remember to watch what your children snack on. Cheese, crunchy fruits and vegetables are best. Female Speaker: Back at school the kids are singing a happy tune. Now they know how important it is to keep their teeth and gums healthy and they know how to do it. After this day in school, Scott Hockzema says his son Dillan actually came home enthusiastic about oral care. Scott Hockzema: He gave us all these instructions, he told my wife and I what we had to do. It was really fun to watch him. He had a great time that day. Female Speaker: While this program is working in our nation schools healthy oral hygiene habits must be reinforced at home and parents need to take the time to educate themselves and their children.