Good oral health starts with early preventive care and good habits

National Children’s Dental Health Month a good time to schedule appointments and help kids learn and practice good oral hygiene

February 1, 2011

San Francisco — Good dental care is just as important as good medical care, according to the results of a recent survey of primary caregivers. That’s why Delta Dental reminds everyone, regardless of age, to get an early start on preventive care.

As part of national Children’s Dental Health Month this February, Delta Dental of California, Pennsylvania and affiliated companies, which provide dental benefits to 25 million people in 15 states, are emphasizing the importance of starting good oral health habits early. Parents can help by scheduling regular dental appointments for their children and by encouraging kids to take care of their own teeth.

In the Delta Dental Children's Oral Health Survey, conducted by Morpace, Inc. for the national Delta Dental Plans Association, nine out of 10 respondents agreed that good dental care and good medical care were equally important. A previous independent survey by Research!America showed that although 85 percent of respondents agreed that oral health is very important to their overall health, lack of insurance usually was why they had not visited the dentist in the past 12 months.

“Dental caries is the most chronic childhood disease in the country, and a lack of dental coverage is often the reason why such disease is not treated,” said Daniel Croley, DMD, Delta Dental vice president. “We hope health care reform can help increase access to care, bring down the incidence of childhood dental disease and encourage both children and caregivers to participate in preventive care.“

To help engage kids in taking part in their own oral health, Delta Dental has created fun, interactive educational tools for its award-winning children's website (www.MySmileKids.com), including an interactive cavity risk assessment quiz, picture-matching game, an animated story about getting braces, a new “make a story” feature and downloadable stickers, MySmileKids wallpaper and coloring pages. Many features are also available in Spanish at www.MySmikeKids.com/espanol.

Client groups can also request educational materials from Delta Dental that they can offer to their employees. This kit includes dental health articles for kids and teens, flyers and a dental health poster. Delta Dental’s outreach also will take place in cyberspace through Facebook (www.facebook.com/deltadentalins) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/deltadentalins).

The holding company system that includes Delta Dental of California, Delta Dental of Pennsylvania and Delta Dental Insurance Company provide dental benefits to 25 million people in 15 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. All are part of the Delta Dental Plans Association (DDPA), based in Oak Brook, Ill., and which consists of 39 Delta Dental member companies licensed in all 50 states. The association collectively covers nearly 54 million of the 166 million people nationwide with private dental insurance, making it by far the largest national system of dental plans.

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