Public News Service: NC dentists raises awareness on childhood tooth decay and prevention

Apr 18, 2024
North Carolina dentist, Dr. Chavala Harris (Greensboro) raises discusses tooth decay and prevention.
February is Children's Dental Health Month and dentists want to raise awareness about the most common childhood disease and how to prevent it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, untreated cavities are a major health issue for kids, with more than half of children ages 6-8 experiencing tooth decay.

Dr. Chavala Harris, a dentist in Greensboro, advised parents to establish a healthy routine starting with baby teeth to prevent further health problems.

"Typically, we want to keep baby teeth as long as we can because baby teeth help children thoroughly chew their food so they can have proper digestion," Harris explained. "They also provide natural space maintainers until permanent teeth erupt."

Harris emphasized losing baby teeth too early can lead to crowding and a need for braces. To prevent it, she suggests regular dental checkups every six months, brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and limiting sugary foods and drinks.

Studies reveal children from low-income families are twice as likely to have untreated cavities. Harris acknowledged factors like insurance and access to dental care, especially in rural areas, can contribute to this disparity. To bridge the gap, she pointed out dental schools and mobile units can provide necessary dental care and education.

"The presence of these dental schools in North Carolina will allow children and parents and families to have access to dental care where they may not have had them before," Harris stressed. "With these satellite locations, more importantly, it provides an opportunity for more dental education."

Harris highlighted the program Give Kids a Smile, which connects families with dental screening and treatment locations. For more information, call 1-877-WELL-ALL. Other resources include the North Carolina PTA's wellness resource.

Source. Public News Service