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February is Dental Health Month



Guest Columnist


Did you know Dental Decay is the most common untreated chronic childhood illness but also one of the most easily preventable?

The American Dental Association sponsors this month to remind everyone of the importance of a healthy mouth!

Good habits start at an early age and going to the dentist regularly helps children get a good start on healthy teeth and gums. A child should have their first dental visit by age one or when the first tooth erupts.

Oral health affects general health. It can interfere with eating, speaking, self-esteem and daily activities.

Melissa Boughman, Dental Access Coordinator with Gaston Family Health Services sees both children and adults at their General Dental Office, housed in the same building as the County Health & Human Services Department.

Boughman said that soda decay is a large problem in Gaston County.

“Soda can have 17 teaspoons of sugar along with phosphoric acid which cause teeth to decay quickly,” she said.

Chewy and sticky foods such as dried fruit or gummy candies can linger on the teeth and cause overactive bacteria.

Instead of soda or juice, drink water. It has no calories, no sugar and no acid. If you want a soda, limit to once a week and drink with a snack to limit the time acid is produced.

Here are some tips for healthy teeth:

  • See your dentist every 6 months for an exam and cleaning
  • Help your child brush at least twice a day and floss once a day
  • To encourage children to brush, let them pick out their own toothbrush. If age appropriate make sure the toothpaste contains fluoride and the toothbrush is soft-bristled
  • Pack healthy lunches such as fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of cavities
  • Never put a baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup unless it contains plain water
  • Remember bedtime is the most important time to brush

Want more information for dental services in Gaston County?

Gaston Family Health Services has a team of Pediatric Dentists (children specialists), dental hygienists and dentists that can provide care to the oral health needs of patients of all ages. There is nitrous oxide sedation and operating room services at Gaston Memorial Hospital available upon consultation. In Gaston County, the General Dental Office is housed in the same building as the Gaston County Health & Human Services Department and sees both children and adults. Call 704-853-5191 for more information. GFHS Pediatric Dentistry sees children up to age 13 at 890 Summit Crossing Place, Gastonia, NC, 704-874-0377.

Want more information in Lincoln County?

Lincoln Dental Services, a non-profit dental clinic, is available to serve children enrolled in Medicaid and Health Choice from birth up to age 18. The clinic has a full-time dentist and staff to provide preventive, restorative care and hospital treatment as needed. The phone number is 704-735-2230 and they are open Monday – Thursday. A Spanish interpreter is employed and is available during office hours.

Want to learn more about the Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties?

The Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties is your local Smart Start agency. You can reach us at 704-922-0900 or visit us online at www.pfclg.com. Our vision is a community where young children will reach their health and educational potential.

Connect with us:

  • www.pfclg.com
  • http://www.facebook.com/pfclg
  • Flickr, www.flickr.com/pfclg
  • Twitter: Ready4School


Amy Wadsworth is Public Information Coordinator with the Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties.



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