Thursday, November 3, 2005

Dental Tips for the Days After Halloween and Beyond

Although Halloween may be over for another year, the experts at United Concordia Dental Insurance advise parents that the consequences of too many sweets may still haunt their children's teeth if proper dental hygiene and oral health practices are not followed. "The days following Halloween, when children continue to eat all the candy they collected while trick-or-treating, provide a great opportunity for parents to discuss the importance of dental health with their children," said United Concordia's National Dental Director Larry McKinley, DDS. "There's no better time than following a candy and sugar-filled holiday for parents to remind their children about proper brushing and flossing of their teeth. At the same time, they'll be helping their children establish effective dental hygiene practices that can be used throughout their lives." The following tips from United Concordia can help parents teach their children the basics of good oral health:

- During visits to the dentist, ask about age-appropriate ways to teach
children about preventive dental health
- Teach children about the importance of brushing after eating, since
food left in the mouth turns to acid that can cause tooth decay
- Pack a toothbrush with a child's lunch to remind kids that an after
mealtime brushing is a healthy habit
- Take children shopping and turn purchasing a toothbrush and floss into
a fun activity
- Instead of sugary treats, give children stickers, sugarless gum,
colorful toothbrushes, flavored toothpaste and bookmarks or other
positive reinforcement "gifts"
- Finally, teach children to eat a balanced diet rich with vegetables.
Don't make sugary treats off limits, but practice a routine of
moderation that child will learn, understand and follow for years to

For help in teaching children good dental hygiene practices, United Concordia has developed a new child-friendly dental health section on its Web site. Visit the site at www.ucci.com and click on "Diversity at United Concordia" to find the "Children's Fun Pages" link. The new section includes the Plaque Attack concentration game, word searches, crossword puzzles, connect-the-dots pictures and more.

About United Concordia

United Concordia Companies Inc., a Highmark Inc. subsidiary headquartered in Harrisburg, PA, is one of the nation's largest group dental insurers with more than 6.5 million members worldwide. In 2004, United Concordia processed more than 11 million claims. For more information about United Concordia, visit www.unitedconcordia.com.

Source: United Concordia

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