CHILDREN’S ORAL HEALTH: Tooth decay is the most common chronic health problem affecting children in the U.S. In western Wisconsin third graders, 1 out of 6 kids has untreated dental decay.

In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, Eau Claire Healthy Communities is spreading the word about the importance of children’s oral health in the following ways:

Chippewa Valley Technical College dental hygiene students will share the story “Potter the Otter Visits the Dentist” with preschoolers and their parents. Every child who attends will receive a free toothbrush and a copy of the story.

This story will be featured at:

• 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. today, Altoona Public Library, 1303 Lynn Ave., for ages 3 to 5.

• 10:15 a.m. Friday for preschoolers and 10:15 a.m. Saturday for families, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library.

Eau Claire Healthy Communities also is hosting a poster-board contest for Eau Claire County elementary students with the theme “Brush and Clean in Between to Build a Healthy Smile.”

In addition, the organization offers the following tips to improve children’s oral health — limit between-meal snacks, give a child water or low-fat milk instead of soft drinks, help children develop good brushing and flossing habits and schedule regular dental visits.

From staff reports