The Ontario Dental Association reminds parents: Healthy mouths lead to healthy minds

    Don't send your kids back to school without a thorough check-up and these
    helpful tips

    TORONTO, Sept. 2 /CNW/ - Children across the province return to school
next week and the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) reminds parents that they
should do so with clean, healthy teeth.
    "Tooth decay can impact a child's ability to focus, learn and even attend
class," says ODA President Dr. Ira Kirshen. "The good news is that it is
entirely preventable. Parents can help children fight off tooth decay by
simply teaching them good oral health habits."
    In a Special Report published last year - Tooth Decay in Ontario's
Children: An Ounce of Prevention - A Pound of Cure - the ODA reported that
tooth decay is a rapidly progressing disease and one of the leading causes of
absences from school. It not only affects school performance, it impedes a
child's ability to thrive and his or her sense of self-worth.
    To emphasize the importance of prevention, the ODA offers the following
tips to parents:

    -   When shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies, be sure to
        include some new toothbrushes on your list. A child's toothbrush
        should be changed every three months or immediately after an illness.
    -   To prevent spreading the bacteria that causes tooth decay, do not put
        anything in your child's mouth if it has been in yours, such as
        forks, spoons or soothers.
    -   Pack your child's lunch with nutritious snacks like fruits,
        vegetables and cheeses which are also good for their teeth. Avoid
        soft, sticky sweets that get stuck in your child's teeth or stay in
        the child's mouth for a long time, such as raisins, caramels and
    -   Make sure your child brushes and flosses twice a day. To encourage
        healthy habits, let your child watch you brush and floss your teeth
        as often as possible. Children are wonderful imitators, and there's
        nothing like a parent's example to teach them the way to healthy
        dental practices.
    -   Schedule regular check-ups with your dentist.

    "There are many things parents can do to build habits that will protect
their children's teeth and lay the foundation for future health," says Dr.
Kirshen. "Make sure your child is ready for school and able to enjoy a full
year's curriculum without being affected by oral health issues."
    More information and helpful tips for healthy teeth can be found on the
ODA website -

For further information:

For further information: Rui Manuel Estevao, Public Affairs and
Communications, Ontario Dental Association, (416) 355-2278,;
Bonnie Dean, Public Affairs and Communications, Ontario Dental Association,
(416) 922-3900, extension 3305,

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