California Children Miss 500,000 School Days A Year Due To Bad Teeth
As Santa Clarita orthodontists like Dr. Gilbert Snow will tell you, tooth decay (or dental caries) affects children in the United States more than any chronic infectious disease. That’s based on the latest information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Without treatment, tooth decay can cause excruciating pain and infections that make it difficult for a child to eat, speak, play or learn.
Children and parents can prevent tooth decay and cavities by proper brushing, using a fluoride toothpaste (only a pea-sized amount on the brush for children 7 or younger), eating regular nutritious meals and staying away from snacks and sweets between meals.
Dentists can also help by applying a dental sealant to the child’s teeth that protects teeth from decay.
Dr. Snow, Among Top Santa Clarita Orthodontists for Children, Confirms Trend
It’s no different for children in our family-friendly Santa Clarita Valley. Dozens of Santa Clarita orthodontists and dentists specialize in dentistry and orthodontics for children, and are dedicated to helping fight tooth decay in children through education, prevention and treatment.
“Dental decay is the most chronic disease among kids in school,” confirmed Dr. Gilbert Snow, a top Santa Clarita orthodontist for children, and founder of Snow Orthodontics, which serves Santa Clarita Valley, Antelope Valley and San Fernando Valley.
“In fact, two years ago, 500,000 kids in California alone lost at least one day of school. Dental disease is the biggest reason that kids miss school,” Dr. Snow said.
How Dr. Snow Became One of the Top Santa Clarita Orthodontists
Dr. Snow earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the USC School of Dentistry and completed a postgraduate specialty degree in Loyola University in Chicago. He opened his practice in the Antelope Valley in 1971.
Today, Snow Orthodontics has seven Southern California offices – in Santa Clarita (on Cinema Drive in Valencia), Palmdale and Lancaster, as well as Encino, Phelan, Tehachapi and Ridgecrest.
RELATED: Take the Google Business Photos Tour of Dr. Snow’s Santa Clarita Office
Snow Orthodontics dental services for children range from performing regular checkups, cleaning teeth, filling cavities and treating gum disease to installing braces, retainers or other dental hardware designed to straighten crooked teeth and/or adjust an overbite or underbite.
Snow Orthodontics Free Dental Screenings in Schools
Fighting tooth decay so children can stay in school is a major reason Dr. Snow has devoted most of his 40-plus-year career to providing dental and orthodontic treatment for kids in Southern California.
He regularly visits and conducts free dental screenings at elementary schools in Santa Clarita, Valencia, Newhall, Saugus, Canyon Country, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic, Palmdale, Lancaster and other Southern California communities.
After years of practice, Dr. Snow definitely knows how to make his school visits interesting, fun and educational at the same time – for himself as well as the students. He and his staff are welcome visitors to school campuses in all the areas he serves.
Dr. Snow has focused almost exclusively on providing dental services and orthodontics for children since the mid-1980s. He had noticed a decline in dental health in his younger patients, and connected with the Lancaster School District to survey the students’ dental health.
The results confirmed his worst suspicions. The survey showed a shocking 10 percent of 9- and 10-year-olds had never been to a dentist. Ever. And of those children who had seen a dentist, 20 percent had not had a dental checkup in the past year.
“So we started doing regular school screenings, and have been doing that for about 27 years now,” Dr. Snow said. One of the most recent was to Oak Hills Elementary School.
“First of all, we give a demonstration and talk about oral hygiene and have lots of discussion with the kids,” he said. “Then we examine the kids and send the examination sheet home with them to the parents so they can take the appropriate action, both in general dentistry and things to do with their bite, the orthodontics.”
Not all parents could afford the treatment their children needed. So Dr. Snow took his mission a step further, and founded a nonprofit organization to provide funding for a variety of free dental health services for kids whose parents had no insurance or couldn’t otherwise pay for them.
Dr. Snow’s Cool Tips for Good Dental Health
When Dr. Snow’s young patients visit his office, or when he visits their schools, he delivers information and tips on oral hygiene and dental health care in a way they both enjoy and remember.
“For instance, a lot of people don’t know that tooth decay is a communicable disease – we can give it to each other by kissing,” he said, pausing a beat for dramatic effect.
When elementary school-age youngsters kids hear this, it grabs their attention fast and evokes all kinds of reactions, from nervous giggles to shock and horror.
“At some schools that really sets off a real discussion,” Dr. Snow said.
They’re certainly listening and learning by the time he continues to explain just how kissing can indeed cause cavities.
“What happens is, mothers have decay germs in their mouth, and when they kiss their babies they give their babies the decay germs,” Dr. Snow tells them. “Then when they get older they have those germs in their mouth, and the sugars, of course, the germs eat, and as they eat it, they give off an acid which eats into the tooth, decalcifies the tooth and eventually makes a cavity. So that’s how cavities are formed.”
Then he tells them they can fight cavities by chewing the right kind of gum. Kids like that idea, too. They stay tuned in.
“Probably about 10 years ago, studies were done and they found that an ingredient called xylitol, a sugar substitute, will actually do the opposite of sugar. It will kill the germs that cause decay,” he said. “And they put it in gum now. Obstetricians often recommend that mothers chew this gum with xylitol. It kills those germs, and when they go to kiss their children and their babies, they don’t have the decay germs, so their kids don’t get cavities.”
Dr. Snow also spreads the word about dental health via helpful articles he has contributed to the KHTS website at http:/
Some of the students share the oral hygiene and dental hygiene tips they learn from Dr. Snow by guesting on AM 1220 KHTS during a special phone-in segment.
And he occasionally guests on AM 1220 KHTS to talk about the importance of dental health for both children and adults, as he did in this April 15, 2013 interview.
“If we can give back to the community, we want to do it in our best area of expertise, which is dentistry, and that’s why we’ve been doing it,” Dr. Snow said.
For more information about Dr. Snow and Snow Orthodontics, call (661) 273-1750, or visit the Snow Orthodontics website.