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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

CT dentists share new trends in kids' oral health

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Monday, February 26, 2024   

During Children's Dental Health Month, Connecticut pediatric dentists are advising the best habits for their young patients.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than half of kids ages 6-8 have had a cavity in their baby teeth.

Dr. Mimi DeLessio-Matta, pediatric dentist and past president of the Connecticut State Dental Association, said getting kids to a dentist once their first teeth come in can prevent cavities early on. But she worries about how the pandemic, which kept people away from dental offices, is still affecting kids' oral health.

"It's more around the age of 10 or 11 that permanent canines can get what we call 'impacted,' they can get stuck and not come in," DeLessio-Matta explained. "There's a time frame where every six months, seeing a change and making sure that something's not getting stuck is very important."

She pointed out when people skip their kids' dentist visits, kids might need oral surgery if canine teeth are not coming in right. She also noted the movement to keep fluoride out of drinking water has degraded public health. DeLessio-Matta said it is the best way to reduce tooth decay. Some have floated the claim fluoride can cause cancer, but the American Cancer Society said the amount in most water supplies is too small to be a problem.

Dr. Paul McConnell, dental director for UnitedHealthcare, pointed out introducing good habits is a big challenge for kids' oral health. He said starting at age 6-8 can make it harder for habits to "stick." Instead, McConnell feels the younger kids are, the more accustomed they will become to good dental care.

"Starting when they're just born to a year old, and then progressively adding flossing into that routine, it's a normal thing for them," McConnell emphasized. "It doesn't become so unusual or so difficult."

He recommended parents set a timer on their phones as a reminder of when kids should brush their teeth and encouraged them to model their own good dental care so kids can see how it's done.

Disclosure: UnitedHealthcare contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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