For the past decade, Ben Jensen Dental of Yankton has promoted Children’s Dental Health Month during the month of February, and this year is no different.

The team at Ben Jensen Dental will visit more than 200 students in the third grade, preschool, and Boys & Girls Club classrooms promoting the importance of good oral hygiene. The class visits will focus on brushing and flossing properly, tips on eating healthy and avoiding cavities, and encouraging regular dental visits.

The goal for each visit is to reassure kids that a trip to the dental office can be a great experience.

“We want to establish good relationships and dental habits at a young age in order to create happier, healthier kids,” states Dr. Jensen.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tooth decay is the most common childhood condition. It is more common than childhood diabetes, obesity, and other common ailments. Also, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 of 5 (20 percent) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Pain from untreated dental disease like tooth decay makes it difficult for children to eat, sleep, pay attention in school, and can even affect their self esteem. Even more shocking is that nearly half of tooth decay in children ages two to nine goes untreated. “Children’s teeth are meant to last a lifetime, and a healthy smile is important to a child’s self-esteem. With proper care, a balanced diet and regular dental visits, their teeth can remain healthy and strong,” said Dr. Jensen.

The following are a few tips to reduce your children’s risk of tooth decay:

• Protect your child’s teeth with fluoride.

• Talk to your child’s dentist about dental sealants. Sealants protect teeth from decay.

• Have your child visit a dentist for a first checkup by age 1, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics


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