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Home News 3rd Annual Cutest Smile Campaign
David Morgan
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3rd Annual Cutest Smile Campaign

February 5, 2019 - Dental and Oral Health - Information

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

The New Mexico Department of Health’s (NMDOH) Office of Oral Health is celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month by encouraging families to share their children’s smiles on television for the third annual Cutest Smile Campaign, starting Monday February 11th and running through Friday, February 22nd.

NMDOH is working with KOAT-TV, KLUZ-TV/Univision, and Delta Dental to raise awareness about the importance of dental health. Oral hygiene tips will air on KOAT and KLUZ, and viewers can enter their kids’ photos for a chance at winning a cash prize.

“Despite the fact it’s largely preventable, dental decay remains the most common chronic disease in children in New Mexico and nationwide,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Designate Kathyleen Kunkel. “This is a winnable public health battle. Every parent has the power to spare their child the unnecessary pain and anxiety of dental decay that left entirely untreated can lead to speech and nutrition problems, a lack of self-esteem, and even difficulty learning.”

The NMDOH Office of Oral Health urges parents and caregivers to get an early start on developing healthy habits; it’s much easier than trying to break bad habits. Parents who learn about prevention of tooth decay while their children are still babies have the best chance to help their child remain cavity-free in several ways, including:

  • Create a routine beginning as soon as your child’s first tooth appears. Brush for two minutes, two times per day with fluoridated toothpaste and floss as soon as teeth start to touch each other;
  • Establish a dental home with a pediatric dentist by your child’s first birthday and adhere to preventive dental visits every 6 months.
  • Limit sugar, especially in the form of sugary beverages such as soda, juice, Kool-Aid, and milk flavorings (chocolate, strawberry, etc.).
  • Drink optimally fluoridated water when possible and encourage children to get into the habit of making water their first and most common beverage choice.  The cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe water systems are fluoridated.  The Office of Oral Health encourages individuals of all ages in these communities to drink water from the tap and receive the benefits of fluoridated water.
  • Avoid putting babies to sleep with a bottle. Breastmilk and formula still have sugar and can cause severe decay when babies fall asleep with it coating their teeth.
  • Ask your dentist about dental sealants. These protect the chewing surfaces of your child’s back teeth (molars) from dental decay. The first set of permanent molars come in around 6 years of age and a second set come in around 12 years of age. It is best to have dental sealants placed as soon as these teeth come in completely, before there is a chance at developing decay.

For more information on dental health for the young to young at heart, visit the Dental and Oral Health webpage.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

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