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Families asked to sign pledge in debut of National Brush Day campaign

LatinaLista — A quarter of all Latinos live in poverty. Aside from that being a sad statistic what it implies is even scarier — people at greater risk for disease.

Before the Affordable Care Act, living at or below the poverty line meant doctors nor dentists were seen for preventative care but for treatment of an existing, worsening condition. Now, at least, both adults and children will be covered to go to the dentist, as well as, the doctor before what ails them gets really bad — if only they will.

While most parents, of any income level, will rush their children to the doctor, unfortunately, the same can’t be said for taking them to the dentist.

According to the American Dental Association, dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, affecting 16.5 million children in the United States. Oral disease causes kids to miss 51 million school hours and their parents to lose 25 million work hours annually.

As a result of the-dentist-can-wait attitude among Latino families, a national survey found a full 26 percent of Latino 6-to 9-year olds suffered from untreated tooth decay, compared with 14 percent of non-Hispanic white children of the same age.

In other words, Latino children have more tooth decay than other populations according to the data.

Events like trick-or-treating don’t help kids who either already have bad teeth or at are at risk of developing them. What’s sad is that most kids could avoid the painful consequences of eating too much candy if they just did one simple thing — brush their teeth twice a day.

Oral health experts say that if children brushed their teeth twice a day for at least two minutes they could have a healthier mouth. A bilingual campaign called 2min2x launched in 2012 under the Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign advocating for children to follow these brushing rules has already had an impact.

…survey shows that in one year, English-speaking parents report that their children are 7 percent more likely to brush twice a day and 4 percent more likely to brush for two minutes each time. Spanish-speaking parents report significant improvement as well, with 8 percent more kids brushing for two minutes, twice a day.

But a whole lot more needs to be done.

So, November 1 – the day after Halloween, is being designated National Brush Day. On this day, parents are encouraged to establish good oral health habits with their children by encouraging them to brush twice a day and to sign an online pledge to share with their social media networks that spreads the message that a healthy mouth is the best treat any child — and their parent — can have.

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