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Support and Advice from TNPC's Parenting Experts

Fluoride, when added to community water supplies, is the most effective public health measure for preventing tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association. Fluoridation of water is safe, only costs the community about 50 cents a person a year, helps persons of all ages and prevents cavities. Fluoride in toothpastes and rinses helps, too. Not all communities have fluoridated water, and the ADA recommends that brushing, flossing and checkups are still a must. In addition, cavities can be prevented with the pit and fissure sealants that are now available. This is especially pertinent to you, the parent of a school-age child.
While fluoride is helpful in preventing most cavities, it is not terrific at preventing decay in the tiny pits and fissures on the surfaces of the back molars. Sealants place a permanent, durable coating on the surfaces so that all the pits and fissures are closed off to bacteria. This is a simple and painless process of painting the prepared tooth surface with the sealant, a type of plastic.
The best time to seal the teeth of your school-age child is now, or as soon as all 16 permanent molars have come in. Some parents may think it is better to wait until there is a cavity and put in a metal filling, but these fillings only last about seven years; the sealants should last a lifetime. Dentists say that it is still worthwhile to seal the teeth of teenagers who may have already had cavities or fillings, because the snack habits of teens and college students can create new cavities. Since you will probably apply sealants now with your child, you won’t have those problems in his teen years, according to the American Dental Association.


Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country.Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country. You can read more from Evelyn at her web site: www.askevelyn.com

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