Laying the Roots for Healthy Teeth in Young Children

Experts say good dental care starts at birth by paying attention to a baby's gums.


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Laying the Roots for Healthy Teeth in Young Children
Experts say good dental care starts at birth by paying attention to a baby's gums.
Transcript of radio broadcast:
10 March 2009

This is the VOA Special English Health Report.

Bad teeth can be painful -- and worse. They can even be deadly. Infections of the (1) gums and teeth can release bacteria (2)_____ the blood system. Those bacteria can increase the chances of a heart attack or stroke and worsen the effects of other diseases. And adults are not the only ones at risk.

For example, in two thousand seven, doctors in the Washington area said a boy died when a tooth infection spread to his brain. They said it might have been prevented had he received the dental care he needed. He was twelve years old.

Experts at the National Institutes of Health say good dental care starts at birth. Breast milk, they say, is the best food for the healthy development of teeth. Breast milk can help slow bacterial growth and acid production in the mouth.

But dentists say a baby's gums and early teeth should be cleaned after each feeding. Use a cloth with a little warm water. Do the same if a baby is fed with a bottle. Experts say if you decide to put your baby to sleep with a bottle, give only water.

When baby teeth begin to appear, you can clean them with a wet toothbrush. Dentists say it is important to find soft toothbrushes made especially for babies and to use them very gently.

The use of fluoride to protect teeth is common in many parts of the world. For example, it is often added to drinking water supplies. The fluoride mixes (4)_____ enamel, the hard surface on teeth, to help prevent holes, or cavities, from forming.

But young children often swallow toothpaste when they brush. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry notes that swallowing fluoridated toothpaste can cause problems. So young children should be carefully supervised when they brush their teeth. And only a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste, the size of a green pea, should be used.

Parents often wonder what effect thumb sucking or sucking on a pacifier might have (5)_____ their baby's teeth. Dental experts generally agree that this is fine early in life.

The American Academy of Family Physicians says most children stop sucking their thumb by the age of four. If it continues, the group advises parents to talk to their child's dentist or doctor. It could interfere with the correct development of permanent teeth.

Dentists say children should have their first dental visit at least by the time they are one year old. They say babies should be examined when their first teeth appear -- usually at around six months.

And that's the VOA Special English Health Report. I'm Steve Ember.


Reading comprehension:

1. What does “gums” mean?
  A) the tartar which often appears on the surface of teeth
  B) either of the two areas of firm pink flesh inside the mouth which cover the bones into which the teeth are fixed
  C) a sticky substance obtained from the stems of some trees and plants, or a type of glue used for sticking together pieces of paper
  D) the bacteria cause by tooth infections which usually causes serious diseases.
2. Which word should be put in the blank?
  A) for     B) from     C) into     D) of
3. Which problem is not likely to be cause by tooth infection?
  A) brain infection     B) heart diseases     C) stroke    D) diabetes
4. Which word should be put in the blank?
  A) with     B) of     C) to     D) from
5. Which word should be put in the blank?
  A)on     B) to     C) in     D) for
6. According to this article, which statement is NOT true?
  A) It is better for children to stop thumb sucking by the age of four.
  B) Tooth infection does not do harm to adults as strongly as it does to children.
  C) Mothers should clean their children's mouths as soon as their feeding is finished.
  D) Drink water with fluoride can help prevent cavities.
7. According to this article, what is important for the care for children's tooth health?
  A) Take them to the dentist when the tooth infection happens.
  B) Teach them to use the amount of toothpaste based on the amount of water they use to gargle.
  C) Feed babies with the milk from the mother's breasts.
  D) All of the above.



1. B

2. C

3. D

4. A

5. A

6. B

7. C



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