PICKENS COUNTY — Teaching kids to take care of those pearly whites has taken a fun turn as Delta Dental has returned to Pickens County to stress the importance of good oral hygiene to local elementary school kids.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of children ages 6 to 11, despite the fact it is largely preventable by practicing good oral health habits.
To combat tooth decay, Delta Dental, along with the “Tooth Wizard,” has been performing their Land of Smiles show to area kids. The characters teach students the right habits to keep their smiles healthy and after the show, each child receives a “smile bag” packed with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, an educational coloring sheet and a mirror decal, reminding them to brush twice daily.
“Oral health is a key component of general health; if left untreated, oral problems such as tooth decay and gum disease can cause trouble throughout the body. However, these diseases are preventable by maintaining good oral hygiene,” said an ADA spokesperson. “Whether we’re talking about babies, kids or adults, the basics of a good hygiene routine are the same, although the tools and techniques may be different. The goal is to prevent harmful bacteria and the acids they produce from building up in the mouth and attacking teeth.”
Surprisingly, dental disease can actually progress faster in primary (baby) teeth, because they have a thinner coating of protective enamel than permanent (adult) teeth.
“Once your kids reach an age at which they’re primarily responsible for their own day-to-day oral hygiene, you may breathe a sigh of relief,” they said. “But you still have an important role to play in ensuring their oral health.”
The ADA recommends some simple, easy steps to taking care of their chompers like monitoring your children’s efforts, providing a healthy diet and making sure they see a dentist regularly. But ultimately, kids usually mimic what they see. In other words? Be a good role model.
“Children, particularly teens, will surely notice if you are talking the talk but not walking the walk,” they said. “That’s why it is so important to take good care of your own teeth as you’re taking care of theirs. This will go a long way towards giving everyone in the family the best chance of avoiding dental disease and pain, and keeping a sparkling smile for life.”
Several schools in the area, including Concrete Primary, Liberty Elementary and Forest Acres Elementary School, have already played host to the traveling dental hygiene program but dates are still upcoming for others.
The program is scheduled to see kids at Dacusville Elementary on Feb. 28, McKissick on March 2, Clemson Elementary on April 18, East End and Six Mile Elementary on April 20, Pickens Elementary on May 1, Crosswell Elementary on May 3 and West End on May 4.
In all, the company expects the program and animated video to reach over 39,000 kids at S.C. grade schools.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.