PHILADELPHIA - August 22, 2008 --By now, parents have probably already taken their kids to the pediatrician and the eye doctor. But there's one more stop before sending kids back to the classroom-- the dentist. Nicolette DelCampo, of South Philadelphia, is getting ready to start second-grade. On her checklist of things to do is a dental exam. It's required for her school, but her mom says even if it wasn't they'd be here. "Just to make sure they don't have any cavities and just to be in overall good health," Joanie DelCampo said. Pediatric dentist Dr. John Del Gaiso said good dental health comes down to prevention. If cavities aren't caught early, they can turn into major problems, leading to rotting teeth and poor overall health. As kids get into the routine of going to school, Dr. Del Gaiso says now's the time to work good habits into that daily routine. "Two things you can control- diet and home care," he said. As for diet, it's not the amount of sugar that leads to cavities, but the amount of time the sugar sits on teeth so Del Gaiso says get kids in the habit of brushing their teeth at least after breakfast and before bedtime. "Watch them and make sure the brush isn't just in their mouth," he said, adding, "Kids are very good at putting the brush in their mouth but not so good at brushing effectively." He said setting the example now while they're young will help them stay healthy into the future. If you don't have dental insurance or can not afford dental care for your children, call your local health department. To find other free or discounted dental care for kids, you can also visit: Philadelphia Health Dept.
New Jersey Dental Assoc.
Give Kids A Smile
National Foundation of dentistry for the handicapped