February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and First 5 Kern is using the opportunity to teach parents how to take care of their children’s teeth.
“Good oral health starts when baby is born, that child should visit the dentist when their first tooth comes through”, said Christine Lollar, Media Specialist, First 5 Kern.
The Kern County Children’s Dental Health Network is just one of the many programs funded by First 5 Kern. The dental health network provides free oral assessments to children in underserved areas.
“I’m looking to see if the child has anything visible and if they have been to dentist we count fillings and tooth decay”, said Susan McCracken, Dental Hygienist, Kern County Children's Dental Health Network. "If we do find a child has cavities then we refer them into treatment and our grant pays for treatment”.
First 5 Kern says there are a number of ways a parent can make the process fun.
“On our website they can reach out to the family resource center, we have songs, how often they should brush their teeth, and there’s lots of activities”, said Lollar.
First 5 Kern says the goal is to help families engage in healthy habits that last a lifetime.
"Sixty-three percent of children haven’t seen a dentist, so it's really important to invest in good oral health because it affects their overall wellness”, said Lollar.