SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. — The struggle between parent and child starts at sundown. Bath: Check. Pajamas on: Check. Favorite bedtime book: Check. Brush teeth: Sigh. Suddenly, the nightly routine can come to a screeching halt if the child hates to brush his teeth.
According to a 2006 report by the Dental Health Foundation, by the time children are in kindergarten, more than 50 percent already have had tooth decay. When these youngsters reach third grade, that number increases to 70 percent.
That’s why the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB) – the creator of GOT MILK? – has partnered with the Dental Health Foundation during the month of June, National Dairy Month and National Smile Month, to educate Californians that regular tooth brushing plus consuming calcium-rich foods, like milk, could mean fewer unnecessary visits to the dentist.
“Today, there are nearly 140,000 elementary school children across the state in pain requiring treatment for dental care,” says. Dr. Steven Uranga McKane, chair of the Dental Health Foundation. “Parents need to be proactive and encourage development of good oral health habits and – as studies show – proper nutrition in order to ensure a beautiful smile.”
Studies show that toothbrushes and toothpastes alone aren’t enough to obtain that picture-perfect smile. A report by a research scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry states that the calcium in milk helps build strong teeth and could prevent cavities(1).
To bring this messaging home, GOT MILK? is searching for the best smiles in California with the Say Cheese with GOT MILK? photo contest.
With their parents’ permission, kids ages six to 12 can submit a photo of their best smile that could win them a $500 shopping spree at a toy store, plus an electric tooth brush and GOT MILK? goodies.
“A picture-perfect smile begins with milk,” says Steve James, executive director of the CMPB. “The calcium in the milk helps create strong teeth and a beautiful smile for those memorable school photos and beyond.”
The Dental Health Foundation reports that when left untreated dental problems like tooth decay can lead to difficulty speaking and chewing and ultimately, time away from the classroom. Fortunately, there are easy steps that parents can take to prevent cavities in children. Such tips are outlined on http://www.gotmilk.com.
1. As soon as the first tooth erupts begin brushing your child’s teeth with a soft toothbrush. Experts recommend visits to a dentist at the one year mark, with regular check-ups every six months or as recommended by the dentist.
2. Children should brush their teeth at least twice a day for two-and-a-half to three minutes with toothpaste that has fluoride – an ingredient that helps fight cavities.
3. Watch out for puffy, red or tender gums, which are signs that your oral health is deteriorating and you need to see a dentist.
4. Replace sugar filled juices and sodas with milk at mealtimes. Studies show milk not only has plenty of vitamins and nutrients for a growing child, but it also helps strengthen teeth and could help prevent tooth decay.
5. Limit the consumption of sweets that could contribute to tooth decay. Try to avoid hard candy or foods, which could cause teeth to break.
“It’s never too late to start practicing these simple tips to achieve picture-perfect smiles for your kids,” says Uranga McKane.
The Say Cheese with GOT MILK? photo contest will run from June 8 to July 31, 2009 for California residents only.