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February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

Serving thousands of tribal members from CPN and other federally recognized tribes, CPN Health Services 12 state-of-the-art dental operatories have been in overdrive since the dental clinic’s 2014 remodel. Cherokee Nation citizen and CPN Dental Coordinator, Chase Youngblood DDS, sat down with The Hownikan to answer a few questions regarding children’s dental health for February’s National Children’s Dental Health Month.

Why is important to keep children on a scheduled check-up for their teeth?

“Unlike adults, kids are not as likely to perceive sensitivity in their teeth, therefore when a problem is detected it is usually a significant problem in their teeth rather than a preventative one.

“Kids are also less likely to floss but just as likely to have sweets in their diet, so cavities can pop up between and on top of the teeth rather quickly if not checked regularly.”

What is the best way to clean babies’ and toddlers’ teeth?

“Once any child has any teeth come in, those teeth can be cleaned.  In babies and toddlers a good technique is to use with a soft washcloth to wipe the teeth off. When your child will allow you to, it is a good idea to start using a toothbrush.”

Why are baby teeth important?

“In addition to the obvious functions of eating and speaking, baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, serve another very important purpose. They save space for the child’s future permanent teeth. This helps with proper development of the adult teeth and jaw structures. When this space is lost prematurely, there is a greater likelihood that a child will require braces.”

What kind of toothpaste do you recommend for children?

“The American Dental Association recommends that for children younger than three, caregivers should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they come into the mouth by using no more than a grain of rice-sized fluoride toothpaste.

“Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day. It is important to not allow your child to swallow toothpaste containing fluoride, which is why you should limit the amount of toothpaste used until you are confident that they are spitting the toothpaste out.”

For those interested, the CPN Dental Clinic offers preventative care, teeth cleaning, annual exams and routine dental work. For more information, please visit www.potawatomi.org/services/health/clinics or call 405-878-4835.