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      Pediatric Dentist Says Early Dental Care Aids Overall Health

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      February is National Children's Dental Health month and local dentists want you to know how to keep your child's sweet tooth from becoming a cavity.

      Dentists say it starts at home -- at as early as 6 months a parent can start protecting a baby’s first teeth.

      "When they have one or two teeth just make sure we are wiping them down after each feeding; that gets the plaque and bacteria off those teeth," said Dr. Brett Carranza.

      Carranza works at Kearney Pediatric Dentistry, where he sets the stage for patients to have a perfect adult smile.

      He says mom and dad also should avoid giving kids food right before going to sleep.

      "Parents will give their children a snack before bedtime and what happens is that sits on their teeth and causes cavities," said Carranza.

      He says it's exposure time to bad foods that cause those cavities. They are foods kids can have sometimes, but not all the time.

      "Early on our dentist said watch the sticky, chewy, sugary foods they are having,” said Amy Downing.

      Too many sweets can be a toothache for children and a headache for parents.

      "Dental pain can take them out of class, so it they are at home with dental pain they aren't actively learning," Carranza added.

      Some children have a fear of the dentist, so he says the earlier the better.

      "They came with me a little bit just to get used to the dentist, then when they were about three they had their own dentist appointment," Downing shared.

      Carranza says regular checkups for children should occur about once every six months, or once every three months for severe cases.

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