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Smart Minds Start With Healthy Mouths
Date:9/17/2008

Parents Dental Tips for Back-to-School

ROANOKE, Va., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Back to school time is a great time for parents to take a refresher course in their child's oral health care. According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, students miss more than 51 million school hours per year* because of dental problems or related conditions. Dental pain can distract your child, cause schoolwork to suffer or even lead to school absences. A healthy smile contributes to a positive self image and builds confidence.

Delta Dental of Virginia is pleased to provide the following tips to build your child's healthy dental habits and provide resources for parents struggling to afford dental care:

Jump Start Your Child's Healthy Dental Habits

-- Schedule twice yearly dental checkups for your child to prevent oral health problems or catch them early so they can be treated before becoming more serious health issues. Preventive dentistry means less extensive, and less expensive, treatment for your child.

-- Include flossing once a day and brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste in your child's daily routine.

-- Control snacking because repeated exposure to sugary or starchy snacks can increase the risk for cavities.

Be Smart About Candy

Children love candy and prohibiting them from eating it is not realistic in most cases. With a few simple strategies and common sense, you can help protect your child's teeth from the onslaught of sugar while allowing them to enjoy the occasional treat.

-- Avoid hard or chewy candies such as suckers, caramels, popcorn balls and gum, as they bathe teeth in sugar for long periods of time.

-- Choose small candy bars or candies that can be consumed more quickly and easily to avoid prolonged contact with teeth.
-- Brush as soon as possible after eating sugary or starchy foods.

Protect Your Child's Teeth During Sports

-- Require your child to wear a mouthguard whenever he or she is in an activity with a risk of falls or of head contact with other players or equipment. Research shows that most oral injuries occur when athletes are not wearing mouth protection.

-- Mouthguards protect the teeth, as well as the lips, cheeks, and tongue. They help protect children from such head and neck injuries as concussions and jaw fractures.

Assistance for Parents Struggling to Pay for their Child's Dental Care

-- Delta Dental's Smart Smiles(R) is an innovative partnership between Delta Dental of Virginia and the Virginia Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs to provide dental care to Boys & Girls Clubs members who do not have dental insurance or who qualify for Medicaid/FAMIS/Smiles for Children. For additional information, call your local Boys & Girls Clubs or Tina Bailey, Executive Director of Smart Smiles(R) at (804) 359-5250, Ext 225 or visit http://www.smartsmiles.org.

-- Delta Dental's Teeth on the Go 2.0(SM) is a dental health education program geared to students Pre-K-2 and Grades 3-6. It is available free of charge and on loan to nurse coordinators and teachers at ALL Virginia elementary schools. For more information, visit http://www.deltadentalva.com or contact the Teeth on the Go coordinator at (800) 572-3044, Ext 3133.

-- Smiles for Children is a program in Virginia for children who qualify for Medicaid, FAMIS or FAMIS Plus. For more information call, 1-888-912-3456 to speak with a Smiles for Children representative.

-- Many local health departments or community health centers offer a dental component for either a reduced or a sliding scale fee. Contact your local center for more information.

About Delta Dental of Virginia

Delta Dental of Virginia, headquartered in Roanoke, was created in 1964 by the Virginia Dental Association and chartered by the General Assembly, as a not-for-profit service corporation the same year. Delta Dental provides employee dental benefits through a variety of managed fee-for-service and PPO plans covering over 1.3 million enrollees in over 3,000 groups. Delta Dental of Virginia is a member company of the Delta Dental Plans Association, the nation's largest, most experienced dental benefits carrier providing dental coverage to over 51 million people in over 93,000 groups across the nation.

* U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health

For more information, contact:

Sarah Huddle

Delta Dental of Virginia

804-788-4485


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SOURCE Delta Dental of Virginia
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