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February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

Children Group 3 - webThere’s nothing like a child’s smile.  It can make your day! This month, the Dental Clinic at the Columbus Health Department is focusing on good oral health for children. “Teaching children good habits when they are young can help their teeth last a lifetime”, says Dr. Vanessa Downer, Dental Clinic Director.  Some services provided at the Columbus dental clinic include:

  • Comprehensive Exams
  • Cleanings
  • X-rays
  • Fillings
  • Extractions
  • Fluoride Applications
  • Sealants
  • Oral Health Education
  • School Certification Exam

Parents and caregivers can help, too! Here are some ways to reduce your children’s risk of tooth decay:

– Sugary foods and drinks should be consumed with meals. Saliva production increases
during meals and helps neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the
– Limit between-meal snacks. If kids crave a snack, offer them nutritious foods.
– If your kids chew gum, make it sugarless. Chewing sugarless gum after eating can
increase saliva flow and help wash out food and decay-producing acid.
– Monitor beverage consumption. Instead of soft drinks all day, children should also
choose water and low-fat milk.
– Help your children develop good brushing and flossing habits.

Things don’t always go as planned.  Here are some tips for unexpected problems:

Toothache: Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to remove any food or other debris that may be caught between the teeth.
Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth. This could burn gum tissue. If the toothache persists, see the dentist. Don’t rely on painkillers. They may temporarily relieve pain but your dentist should evaluate the condition.

Knocked-out (avulsed) tooth: Try to find the tooth! This may not be as easy as you think if the injury took place on a playground, basketball court or while skateboarding, so try to stay
calm. Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse the root in water if the tooth is dirty. Don’t scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If it’s possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket while you head to the dentist. If that’s not possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and bring it to the dentist. Time is critical for successful reimplantation, so visit your dentist as soon as possible.

Broken tooth: Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Use cold compresses on the outside of the cheek to help reduce the swelling.

Objects caught between teeth: Try to gently remove the object with dental floss. Never use a sharp instrument to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. If you can’t dislodge the object with floss, contact your dentist.

To be eligible to visit the dental clinic at the Columbus Health Department, you must be a Georgia resident.  Many insurance plans accepted, as well as Medicaid and PeachCare.  Plus, the clinic has affordable fees for patients without insurance.

Hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 12:00, and 1:00 pm to 5:00pm.  To schedule an appointment, call 706-321-6190.  For more information on dental health, visit