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Poor dental health can affect other parts of the body
Updated: 10/7/2009 5:00:22 PM

Poor dental health can affect other parts of the body Dental hygiene isn't only important because people love a nice smile.

The U.S. Surgeon General said that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among young Americans. And this problem damages more than just children's teeth, they can develop gum disease and other oral complications.

"Starting oral health routines early will prevent the signs of and damage from tooth decay, including cavities," says registered dental hygienist Jackie Saunders.

It might be a good idea for parents to teach children dental care habits such as brushing twice a day for at least one minute and flossing routinely. Parents can protect their children's teeth by sending them for regular dental checkups and replacing toothbrushes every three months.

Parents can also check their kids' mouths themselves for indicators such as bleeding or receding gums and bad breath. Young gums are reportedly best cleaned using toothbrushes with soft bristles.

The Mayo Clinic says that untreated tooth decay can lead to infections and tooth loss, and that cavities are often the product of sugary snacks and drinks.

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