Wednesday 20 February 2008As winter transitions to spring children will soon be running and playing outdoors. With these outdoor activities comes an increased potential of injury to a child’s face mouth or teeth. As part of the observance of Children’s Dental Health Month this February the Department of Health is working to inform parents and caregivers of the dangers of dental injuries in children and how to prevent them. “Unfortunately dental emergencies take place every day ” said Suzanne Hayes DDS Director of Oral Health Services. “Knowing what to do when your child breaks a tooth or has a tooth knocked out while playing can lessen the pain and save a tooth that might otherwise be lost.” Keep your dental office phone number and the dentist’s emergency number handy and call the dentist immediately for instructions on how to handle a dental emergency. The Department of Health also recommends these measures for dental emergencies: ● Knocked-out tooth: Stay calm and try to find the tooth. Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse the root in water. Don’t scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket while you go to the dentist. If that’s not possible put the tooth in a cup of milk and bring it to the dentist. Time is critical for successful reimplantation so try to get to your dentist immediately. ● Broken tooth: Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Use cold compresses on the outside of the cheek to help reduce swelling. ● Tongue or lip bites or wounds: Clean the area gently with a clean cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If bleeding can’t be controlled go to a hospital emergency room or clinic. You may able to reduce bleeding from the tongue by pulling it forward and using gauze to put pressure on the wound. The Tennessee Department of Health offers numerous programs and services to help keep children’s teeth healthy and is a leader in school-based dental health preventive programs. TDOH reached hundreds of thousands of children with these programs in the 2006-2007 fiscal year including the following successes: ● 139 310 elementary and middle school children received a dental screening. ● 35 109 elementary and middle school children were referred for unmet dental needs. ● 69 339 elementary and middle school children received dental examinations. ● 52 580 elementary and middle school children received dental sealants on 294 191 teeth. ● 168 374 elementary and middle school children received oral health education. A part of the Tennessee Department of Health Oral Health Services provides programs for the prevention of oral disease and improved education of the public regarding the value of good oral health. In addition the program identifies children without access to dental care and attempts to ensure basic care as well as care for acute dental conditions. http://health.state.tn.us/oralhealth/index.html.