Media Release: Protecting young teeth

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Dayton Children's offers Basic Tooth Brushing and Decay-Fighting Tips

02-01-2009 (Dayton, OH) - "Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, yet 90 percent of all tooth decay is preventable," says Gordon Womack, DDS, medical director of Dayton Pediatric Dentistry at The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. "It is well known that cavities in primary teeth increases the risk of the permanent teeth also developing a disease.

When children are in pain from dentally related causes, that pain either directly or indirectly affects their ability to speak, eat, sleep or concentrate."

Teaching a child to brush their teeth is a task that many parents have dreaded at one time or another. Having a child brush regularly is extremely important because it establishes good oral habits that last a lifetime.

Here are some basic toothbrushing tips Dr. Womack recommends to help a child make tooth brushing painless:

  • Provide consistency to the toothbrushing routine. Children should be encouraged to brush their teeth two to three times a day. Once they realize that it doesn't hurt, they will be more likely to continue brushing.
  • Incorporate toothbrushing into bath time - a typically fun time of the day. So kids associate toothbrushing with something fun.
  • Decorate an egg timer or sand timer and set it for two minutes. Have the child learn to brush for the entire time the timer is on.
  • For small children, have two adults sit knee to knee and put the baby between them. One adult can hold the baby while the other brushes the teeth.

"Tooth brushing should be supervised for children up to 8 years old to make sure they brush for two full minutes, use fluoridated toothpaste with a soft bristle brush and brush in circles. Less than 40 percent of children actually follow these proper brushing techniques," says Dr. Womack.

Before the first tooth, brush your child's gums twice a day with a soft cloth or baby toothbrush and water even before the first tooth appears.

Talk to your pediatric dentist about your child's fluoride needs. Infants require fluoride to help developing teeth grow strong and children who primarily drink bottled water may not be getting the fluoride they need.
  • If you must put your child to sleep with a bottle, use nothing but water - other beverages can damage teeth, leading to cavities.
  • Never dip a pacifier into honey or anything sweet before giving it to a baby.
  • The best times for your child to brush are after breakfast and before bed.
  • Limit frequency of snacking, which can increase a child's risk of developing cavities.
  • Limit candy. Sucking on candy is another way that kids can extend exposure to sugar. Limit sweets and the time it takes for kids to consume them, and make sure children brush afterward.

"Proper preventive care, fluoridation use and a balanced diet are key to the oral and overall health of every child," says Dr. Womack. "When kids are exposed to sugar for a long time, the risk of tooth decay increases. If tooth decay is not treated, this puts these young children at increased risk for pain and infection, which can lead to missed school, lost sleep and loss of appetite."

Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, yet 90 percent of all tooth decay is preventable.

Through the Kohl's Cares for Kids campaign Dayton Children's and Kohl's Department stores have partnered to raise awareness during the National Dental Health Month of February.

Since 1999, Kohl's Department stores have donated more than $871,600 to Dayton's Children's. Kohl's commitment to Dayton Children's is made possible through Kohl's Cares for Kids. Net profits from the sale of special merchandise supports children's health and education.

About Kohl's Department Stores
Based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Kohl's is a family-focused, value-oriented specialty department store offering moderately priced, exclusive and national brand apparel, shoes, accessories, beauty and home products in an exciting shopping environment. Kohl's operates 957 stores in 47 states and will celebrate the opening of its 1,000th store in the fall. A company committed to the communities it serves, Kohl's has raised more than $102 million for children's initiatives nationwide through its Kohl's Cares for Kids philanthropic program. For a list of store locations and information, or for the added convenience of shopping online, visit

About Dayton Children's
Dayton Children's is the region's only medical facility dedicated to caring for infants, children and teens. Consistently recognized as one of the country's top pediatric hospitals, Dayton Children's provides medical treatment, advice and information for children and families from 20 Ohio counties and eastern Indiana. By demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission's national quality standards, Dayton Children's has earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval. For more children's health and safety information, visit our website at

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Phone: 937-641-3666


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