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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 9, 2008 at 3:14 PM

Children’s dental care

Healthy teeth could make you smarter

As a certificated school nurse for 26 years, I was pleased to see the recent story on children’s oral health [“Cavity-fighting trick: Eat treats at once,” News, Oct. 31].

I see far too many children with rotted teeth who can’t concentrate in school because they are in pain.

Dental disease is the most common chronic disease of childhood and is a leading cause of school absenteeism. We clearly need to step up efforts to prevent dental disease; It is a preventable condition.

Children are not healthy if they don’t have healthy mouths.

Focusing on infants makes sense because nutrition and oral-hygiene habits are established early in life. It also makes sense to involve physicians in screening kid’s teeth because kids are going to a physician many times for well-child checkups and immunizations.

If we want children to do well in school, we need to make sure they are healthy, and that must include good oral health. Early prevention will save money in the long run. We must help kids at a very young age start on the right track toward oral health, which can have a significant longterm impact on their overall health and learning success.

— Mary Myers, Kent

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