February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

When making important decisions about your children’s health and well-being, don’t forget about their teeth and gums. Compared to kids with poor oral health, children who establish good oral hygiene habits at a young age are more likely to continue excellent brushing and flossing as adults, experience far fewer dental problems throughout life, maintain a positive self-image, and perform better in school. As a parent, you play a vital role in helping kids establish proper dental care — and smiles — that last a lifetime.

Early dental care prevents dental diseases.

Developing good oral hygiene is also the first line of defense against many common dental issues, such as plaque, gum disease and cavities. Studies show that dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the U.S., and left untreated, may lead to pain and infection that cause problems with speaking, eating and overall health.

Teach children the importance of good oral hygiene.

The good news is that cavities are almost completely preventable with regular visits to the dentist and consistent dental care at home. Parents can help their children maintain healthy teeth and gums by encouraging the following habits:

  • Begin good oral health habits as soon as your baby’s teeth are visible. Start by using a washcloth to gently clean your children’s teeth and gums.
  • Teach your children to brush all surfaces of their teeth for two minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Assist your children until they are able to brush by themselves.
  • Floss between your children’s teeth and along the gum line to remove trapped food and plaque that lead to gingivitis and decay.
  • Make oral hygiene fun by letting your children choose their kid-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste in their favorite color, character, or flavor.
  • Sing a song or play a video while brushing to make time pass quickly and to ensure your children are brushing for the full two minutes.
  • Encourage your children to brush their teeth immediately after drinking juice or eating candy to prevent decay.
  • Avoid giving children too many sugary foods and drinks, especially between meals, which promote decay and cause enamel damage.
  • Increase water intake throughout the day to help neutralize the acids that cause cavities.

Establish a healthy relationship with your child’s dentist.

Finally, one of the most important ways to maintain a healthy smile for your children is to schedule regular checkups with their dentist. Choose a dentist who understands the unique development of children’s smiles and specializes in dentistry for kids — from infancy through adolescence. Following a thorough cleaning and evaluation, your child’s dentist can discuss cleaning techniques for keeping your kid’s teeth cavity-free, as well as answer any questions concerning your child’s oral health.

For additional information on A Healthy Mouth for Your Baby visit the following website:



Healthy Recipes

WEEK 5 Nutrition Recipes
Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders {Freezer Meal}

Mac and Cheese with Sneaky Sweet Potato {Freezer Meal}

Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef {Freezer Meal}

Cheesy Chicken Casserole: Real Food Meets Reality {Freezer Meal}

Tomato Bisque Recipe (Panera Bread Fake-Out) {Freezer Meal}

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Sliders {Freezer Meal}

Make Ahead Smoothies

Double Chocolate Zucchini Waffles {Freezer Meal}

WEEK 4 Nutrition Recipes 

Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatloaves {Freezer Meal}


Friendship Casserole

Healthy Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Mediterranean Shrimp {Freezer Meal}

Ham and Cheese Stromboli Recipe

Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups {Freezer Meal}

Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs {Freezer Meal}

Healthy Applesauce Oat Muffins

Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas {Freezer Meal}

Week 3 Nutrition Recipes 

Honey Teriyaki Chicken {Freezer Meal}

Hearty Baked Penne Pasta {Freezer Meal}

Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin {Freezer Meal}

Chicken, Brown Rice, and Veggie Casserole {Freezer Meal}

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia: A Non-Fishy Delishy Recipe {Freezer Meal}

Mini Italian Burgers {Freezer Meal}

Easy Breakfast Casserole Muffins {Freezer Meal}

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe {Freezer Meal}

Week 2 Nutrition Recipes

Baked Italian Meatballs {Freezer Meal}

Parmesan Garlic Pizza Pasta

Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos {Freezer Meal}

Make-Ahead Lunch Wraps {Freezer Meal}

Oatmeal Pancake Mix Recipe {Freezer Meal}

Brownie Baked Oatmeal Recipe {Freezer Meal}

Fried Rice with Sweet Soy Sauce {Freezer Meal}

Mini Ham and Cheese Sliders {Freezer Meal}

Chicken Parmesan Casserole {Freezer Meal}


Week 1 Nutrition Recipes

Baked Beef Ravioli Recipe: An Easy Fake-Out Lasagna 


Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe


Sweet Garlic Chicken – Freezer Meal


No-Bake Energy Bites (aka Peanut Butter Oatmeal Protein Bars)


Freezer Cheesy Potatoes Recipe


Sweet and Savory Salmon


Easy Homemade Hot Pockets


Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oatmeal


Cinnamon Whole Grain Power Pancakes


Snowy Days Stories Event

Join us for a morning of fun at the Greenville Flat River Community Library.

January 8, 2018 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Sledding Event 2018

Dental Visits for Children

Have you taken your child to the dentist?

The American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend that your infant begin visiting the dentist by age 1. Seeing a dentist early is all about prevention. Today’s dental teams can cultivate and protect your child’s smile by identifying risk factors and behaviors that could spell trouble in the future. Most parents are shocked to discover that too much fruit juice and inadequate oral hygiene can result in significant decay by 2 to 3.

Start building the best foundation for your child’s oral health and overall health by taking your child to the dentist six months after the first tooth comes in, or by your child’s first birthday. Establishing a ‘Dental Home’ by 1 may eliminate the need for dental fillings by 2.

For a listing of local dentists that accept Healthy Kids Dental please see this list!

Montcalm County Healthy Kids Dental Providers 2017

Dear Safe to Sleep® Community:

As many of you may know, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Task Force on SIDS recently updated its recommendations for safe infant sleep. The article, SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment, External Web Site Policy draws on new research and serves as the first update to Academy policy since 2011.

NICHD’s Deputy Director, Dr. Cathy Spong, participated in an AAP press event External Web Site Policy during which AAP members and Dr. Spong reviewed the recommendations and research that informed the updates. During the press conference, Dr. Spong mentioned that she understands “the challenges of keeping babies healthy and safe not only as a mother of four, but also as a physician.” Dr. Spong continued, “Like other new parents and expectant families, I want to know what is best for my children and, especially, what I can do to help keep them healthy and safe.”

Dr. Spong acknowledged the important role that health and allied care service providers play in supporting families to make informed decisions about safe infant sleep. She also reiterated NICHD’s commitment to “continue to reach out to parents, caregivers, and those who interact with parents and caregivers about ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.”

To reflect the latest evidence-based guidance on safe infant sleep, the Safe to Sleep® campaign updated its educational messages and will begin revising its outreach materials. We expect to have new Safe to Sleep® educational materials ready to ship in early 2017!

Please note that our current materials are still accurate. You may continue to order free copies of any publication we offer.

Learn about our new safe infant sleep messages.

Read the full AAP guidelines in SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. External Web Site Policy

Thank you for your continued efforts to support infant health and safety!

Safe to Sleep® campaign
Office of Communications
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Amid Rising Inequality, One School Gap Is Narrowing

Recent studies and government reports continue to highlight what many Americans know by their wallets: Rising income differences, debt and stagnant real wages are among the biggest problems besetting the nation.

That economic inequality is reflected in America’s schools, right? Absolutely.

But a study just out shows that the gap in school readiness between rich and poor children entering kindergarten closed significantly — by 10 to 16 percent — from 1998 to 2010. Some ethnic/racial achievement gaps declined as well. Reed the full story below.