By Kim Schiavi Central Michigan District Health Department OSCEOLA COUNTY\u00a0\u2014\u00a0The American Dental Association, along with the ADA Foundation, and the Central\u00a0Michigan District Health Department is pleased to announce that February 2016 is National\u00a0Children's Dental Health Month. This month-long national health observance brings\u00a0together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, healthcare providers and educators to\u00a0promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers and many others. February also is an important time to increase the focus on the value of regular dental check-ups and\u00a0a balanced diet. This year\u2019s campaign theme, "Sugar Wars," urges children to defeat the effects of\u00a0sugar and maintain good oral health by brushing, flossing, rinsing and eating healthy snacks. The Central Michigan District Health Department staff would like to let the community\u00a0know that we can provide oral screening and varnish applications for children 6 months to 35\u00a0months who are enrolled in or are eligible for Medicaid insurance coverage. This does not replace\u00a0the needed dental exams that your child should still be receiving from a local dentist. Oral\u00a0screenings and varnish applications are offered by trained Registered Nurses in all of the branch\u00a0offices at CMDHD. Registered Nurses can also provide oral screenings twice a year for those\u00a0without a dental home to determine the need for a referral to a dentist for evaluation and follow up\u00a0care. Varnish applications will be performed to those clients up to four times per year, who are\u00a0considered to be at a high risk of dental caries and gum disease and who are not currently receiving\u00a0treatments through a regular dentist. At the appointment, our staff works with clients to help them\u00a0find and establish care at a local dentist office. The goal of the Oral Screening and Varnish Application Program is to prevent tooth decay.\u00a0Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that is painted on teeth to help prevent new cavities and to\u00a0help stop cavities that have already started. Fluoride varnish is endorsed by the American Dental\u00a0Association and is approved by the FDA. In addition to regular dental care and fluoride, here are\u00a0some tips from the American Dental Association to keep your young child's mouth healthy: Place only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as\u00a0sugar water, juice or soft drinks. Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottles before going to bed. If your child uses a pacifier, provide one that is clean \u2014 don\u2019t dip it in sugar or honey, or put\u00a0it in your mouth before giving it to the child. Encourage children to drink from a cup by their first birthday and discourage frequent or\u00a0prolonged use of sippy cups. Serve nutritious snacks and limit sweets to mealtimes. Older children should follow the same rules of regular brushing, flossing, dental visits and\u00a0eating a balanced diet, and avoiding surgery beverages like juice and soft drinks. Sugars and starches\u00a0encourage the production of plaque which can attack tooth enamel. Also, it\u2019s not just the sugar in\u00a0soft drinks that decays teeth; it\u2019s the acid too, making this double trouble.