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Friday Dental Download: February 21, 2014

This week, California announces a new law that could help lower rates of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay, Maryland reports that more kids are getting dental care and even the seals at the New England Aquarium are celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month! Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, the seals at the New England Aquarium have been brushing their pearly whites to remind visitors how important good oral health really is- even for seals.

A new law could make California the first state to require warnings on the front of all beverage containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories per 12 ounces. The label would read: "STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay." It’s important to educate people about the effects excess sugar can have on oral health, as well as their overall health.

The Defense Department recently started the procurement process for a dental electronic health record (EHR) capable of managing 17,000 patient appointments per day. According to NextGov.com, the Defense Department Health Management Systems Modernization program managed by the Defense Health Agency aims to start the process with a test site at Ft. Lewis, WA, in late 2016 and complete installation in 57 hospitals, 364 medical clinics, 225 veteran’s clinics, and 282 dental clinics by 2019.

According to a new state report by the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, the number of children in Maryland with untreated tooth decay dropped 41 percent from 2001 to 2011. According to an announcement in the Washington Post from the Maryland Department of Health, approximately 14 percent of children had untreated dental caries, a drop from 23 percent in 2000 and 2001. We are thrilled to hear that the number of children with untreated dental issues is decreasing. It’s important that parents remain vigilant that their children brush, floss and receive regular dental checkups.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recently launched the “Monster-Free Mouths Movement” to help parents educate children about the importance of practicing good oral health habits and the not-so-fun “monsters” that will attack teeth if they don’t, like “Tartar the Terrible,” who breaks down tooth enamel and causes cavities. The website contains fun activities for parents and their children, like certificates of achievement for getting a dental checkup.