Bangor dentist brings tooth care information to local schools

Posted April 17, 2013, at 11:24 a.m.

by Ardeana Hamlin

of The Weekly Staff

BANGOR — Dr. Travis Buxton of Maine Family Dental Medicine, owned by Dr. Scott McGarr at 277 State St. in Bangor, has four children and it has been his habit to visit his children’s school — each class — to talk about tooth care. But this year, he also went to Fourteenth Street School in Bangor to bring dental health education to the school’s kindergarten through th-rd-grade classes.

“Right now, it’s a pilot thing,” he said of his program. “I hope to do more.” He also hopes that other schools will hear of his efforts and invite him to give presentations.

The children, he said, seemed excited about hearing what he had to say about brushing and flossing. He brought with him a big tub containing a variety of foods, he set Good Tooth and Bad Tooth on a table, then asked the children what they thought about a particular food. Was it good for teeth or bad for teeth? he asked.

“I try to get the children involved, try to get what they think before I give them the answer,” he said. “  I show them the ways advertising is trying to trick them into thinking a certain food is good for them [such as sugary cereal].”

He also brought goodie bags containing a toothbrush, floss, stickers a small toy and information for parents about caring for teeth at home and nutrition, which were given out  through the school’s office.

Buxton believes that there is not enough effort going into preventing dental problems in children and would like to see more emphasis on it.

“I don’t say that a child can’t ever have candy or crackers or cake. Just sit them down at the table to eat it and don’t let them eat it all day. Mouths don’t know the difference between a cracker, candy or chip — they are all carbohydrates which produce acid and that’s what breaks down tooth enamel [and causes tooth decay],” he said. “We can prevent decay in children.” And that, he believes, is as effective, or more so, than putting more technicians in the field.

He advises parents of young children to never put them to bed with a bottle full of juice or chocolate milk. “A lot of juice out there isn’t really juice. It’s juice flavored,” he said. And can contain sugar that can cause harm to teeth.

One of Buxton’s goal is to establish a partnership with local hospitals and healthcare centers to provide new parents with packets of information that will educate them about how to care for their children’s teeth and help them learn some of the basics of good nutrition to help children develop healthy teeth and keep them that way.

When a child gets his or her first teeth is the time to have them checked by a dentist, which can help parents learn what to do and not to do to prevent problems down the road, he said. He suggests brushing and flossing a child’s teeth as soon as they appear, between the age of 6 months and 1 year, assist the child with brushing until he or she is 8 years old, then supervise and check the quality of brushing for several years after that.

To contact Buxton about his school dental health presentations, call Maine Family Dental Health at 947-1166. For information about tooth care for all ages, go to the American Dental Association website at mouthhealthy.org.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/04/17/news/bangor/bangor-dentist-brings-tooth-care-information-to-local-schools/ printed on July 23, 2014