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It's not uncommon for children to leave a checkup at the dentist with a new toothbrush to maintain healthy teeth. But in Washington, some doctors have begun handing out toothbrushes and floss to point out that dental health is a big part of overall health.
According to NBC affiliate KNDU, doctors in the state are handing out bags with a toothbrush and floss to every child who comes in for a dental checkup.
Dr. Russell Meier, a physician at Central Washington Family Medicine said the idea that dental disease is infectious was news to most parents, so his practice is informing them about the disease and helping prevent it in their children.
Because dental disease is hereditary many doctors are paying greater attention to the condition of baby teeth as they are a good indicator of family genes and early eating habits.
Doctors are also looking at baby teeth to making sure parents are brushing their children's teeth as soon as they begin growing in, especially because they often see their family doctor before their family dentist.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay affects over a quarter of all children aged 2-5 in the U.S. and half those aged 12-15.
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