Weekly family briefs rail.

Family Time: Start early for good oral health habits

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Tip of the Week

You may wonder whether itís important to take care of your childís first teeth, which will fall out in early childhood. However, healthy adult teeth start with healthy teeth during childhood. Thatís why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come.

A babyís 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaw at birth. Baby teeth that begin coming through the gums around 6 months help set the stage for future smiles by keeping space in the jaw for adult teeth. The American Dental Association recommends that parents take children to a dentist no later than their first birthday and then at intervals recommended by their dentist.

To help ensure you are well prepared to provide your little one a lifetime of good dental health, the experts at Ameritas offer this information about the leading oral health concerns for youngsters:

- Cavities. Early childhood caries (cavities) is the No. 1 chronic disease affecting young children. It is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Tooth pain keeps many children home from school or distracts them from learning.

- Consumption of sugary foods, soda, juice or energy drinks increases the risk for tooth decay and gum disease, so minimizing these items is an important aspect of dental health. Itís also important to always brush teeth twice daily for two minutes and floss once a day.

- Another option to protect childrenís teeth is sealants, which act as barriers to cavity-prone areas. They are applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars after the teeth erupt and are completely above the gum. Both primary and permanent teeth can benefit from sealants.

- Sports injuries. Mouth guards can help protect children from a dental emergency. They should be worn whenever children participate in sports and recreational activities. Mouth guards cushion blows that can otherwise cause broken teeth, injuries to the lips and face, and even jaw fractures. Mouth guards are available at many retail stores or may be custom-made by a dentist.

- Jaw and bite problems. Malocclusion, or bad bite, is a condition in which the teeth are crowded, crooked, out of alignment or the jaws donít meet properly. This may become particularly noticeable between ages 6 and 12, when a childís permanent teeth are developing.

- Family Features/Ameritas

Family Movie Night

ìThe Lego Movieî

Rated: PG

Length: 100 minutes

Synopsis: An ordinary Lego figure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil Lego tyrant from gluing the universe together.

Violence/scary rating: 3

Sexual-content rating: 1

Profanity rating: 1.5

Drugs/alcohol rating: 1

Family Time rating: 2. A fantastic movie all around. Go see it with the whole family!

(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being ìbad for kidsî and 1 being ìfine for kids.î)

Book Report

ìMr. Wuffles!î by David Wiesner

Ages: 4-8

Pages: 32

Synopsis: In a near wordless masterpiece that could only have been devised by David Wiesner, a cat named Mr. Wuffles doesnít care about toy mice or toy goldfish. Heís much more interested in playing with a little spaceship full of actual aliens ó but the ship wasnít designed for this kind of rough treatment. Between motion sickness and damaged equipment, the aliens are in deep trouble. When the space visitors dodge the cat and take shelter behind the radiator to repair the damage, they make a host of insect friends. The result? A humorous exploration of cooperation between aliens and insects, and of the universal nature of communication involving symbols, ìcaveî paintings, and gestures of friendship. - Clarion Books

Did You Know

According to a study published in Pediatrics, about 20 children are injured by guns every day in the U.S., and about 6 percent of those die.

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