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PROS TO KNOW HEALTH Dental Health is Important for Children's 'Baby Teeth' “Tooth decay is preventable.The investment of only a few minutes each day on the part of parents and caregivers, coupled with regular dental checkups, goes a long way in creating healthy smiles to last a lifetime,” says Dr. Diane Monti-Markowski, clinical program director for (StatePoint) Parents Cigna Dental. and caregivers may be She offers these oral hygiene underestimating the importance tips for those caring for small of dental care for children’s children: “baby teeth.” According to the • Plan to have your child visit the Centers for Disease Control and dentist by his or her first birthday Prevention, only 63 percent of or within six months after the children ages two to four see the first teeth appear. dentist at least annually. • As a child’s teeth start to come Most dental benefits cover in, brush them gently twice a day preventive care visits twice a with a child-sized toothbrush and year with no out-of-pocket costs, water. and these visits are important for • Begin flossing a child’s teeth small children. daily when there are two teeth Baby teeth, (also known as that touch. primary teeth), play an important • Do not put your baby to sleep role in a child’s overall healthy with a bottle of formula, milk, development. If cavities begin juice or any other liquid other and arc left untreated, they can than water. become painful and possibly • Consider introducing infected. Loss of these teeth prematurely may impact eating, toothpaste for children who are two and older and are able to speaking, learning and selffollow directions to spit after esteem. Baby teeth help guide brushing.The American Dental the way for permanent teeth to Association recommends using erupt into proper position. fluoride toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice for children younger than three years old and a pea-size amount for children three to six years old. By age three or four, your child should be able to brush with your supervision. • Make brushing fun. Let your child pick out the color of his or her toothbrush. Play a favorite song or set a timer to help children understand that good brushing takes about two minutes twice a day. Find more tips at Cigna.com/ dental-resources. For detailed questions or concerns about a child’s oral health, it is important to consult a dentist. “Adults can also reinforce the importance of oral health by their attitudes,” adds Dr. Monti-Markowski. “Encouraging good habits and showing a positive manner when visiting the dentist can lay the foundation for children to maintain healthy teeth throughout their fives.” For more Pros To Know articles go to www.qctimes.com/prostoknow.