Children First: Taking a Bite Out of Trouble

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Children at West Lauderdale Elementary School brushed up on their hygiene Thursday.

February is Children's Dental Health Month.

At West Lauderdale Elementary School, students learned about the importance of taking care of their smiles, while getting a quick checkup.

"A lot of people don't realize that dental decay is a bacterial infection," said Dr. Rebecca James, District 6 health officer for the Mississippi Department of Health. "And it's contagious and we want to teach the kids and the parents."

While talking to the children, some of them admitted to not brushing their teeth sometimes. Not a good choice, according to Jennifer Moore, a dental hygienist.

"Children should brush their teeth at least twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night, but that may not be enough. They can floss, eat healthy snacks, brush their teeth morning and night, and have regular dental visits at least once or twice a year," Moore said.

At this age, the children are more vulnerable to tooth decay, often forgetting to brush their teeth after meals. So, parents, when you are planning meals at home, or packing a lunch for school, you should keep in mind that sweets may taste good, but they are the heavy artillery for tooth decay.

"Sweets, in general, you want to keep to a minimum, sugary drinks, the juices that have a lot of sugar, cokes, or anything with a lot of sugar like sweet tea," said Moore.

Instead of sweets, she advised that you pack lunches with fruits, vegetables, peanuts, and cheese.