Dental hygiene is an important habit for children to learn at a very young age. Kids who are exposed to healthy oral care, including practices like teeth brushing, flossing, rinsing and visiting a dentist regularly, are more likely to grow up to be adults with healthy mouths and also healthier lives!
National Children’s Dental Health Month is here to act as a regular reminder for parents, grandparents, teachers, guardians and others to make oral care a regular part of every child’s routine.
History of National Children’s Dental Health Month
More than people might expect, the dental care of a child can have a huge impact on the way that a child grows up in the world. In fact, studies have shown that children with poor dental hygiene practices are much more likely to have other issues, including missing school and even receiving lower grades. Kids who have pain due to dental problems are more likely to have problems with speaking, eating, playing and even learning.
In addition, good oral health is a vital part of the larger picture of a child’s overall health. With the possibility of preventing infections, tooth decay, plaque and gum disease, regular brushing, checkups and other healthy practices will prepare kids for a happier and healthier body throughout their whole lives.
National Children’s Dental Health Month is a collaboration of the American Dental Association (ADA), along with some oral care companies, including Crest and Oral B. The event is supported and observed through a number of different governmental organizations as well as charities, including the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center (OHRC), the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC), the American Dental Hygienists Association, and several others.
The purpose of National Children’s Dental Health Month is to raise awareness about the need for good dental hygiene in children, as well as providing resources for families who might need a helping hand. This is a great time for a wide range of people in the community to get involved with the day and be a part of getting kids off to a good start in their dental hygiene journey!
How to Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month
Get involved and show some care by celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month. Check out some of these ideas for observing this event:
Make a Dentist Appointment
Those who don’t have regularly scheduled dentist appointments for their kids might want to use National Children’s Dental Health Month as a motivation to get them scheduled. Those whose kids aren’t in the habit of going to the dentist should be sure to help them understand what will happen while they are there, putting them at ease and trying to provide them with confidence.
Be sure to schedule a time to visit the hygienist for cleaning as well as getting a checkup from the dentist and x-rays too. During the visit to the office, ask the hygienist to be sure to teach the child some tricks and skills that will help them have better oral health on a regular basis.
Learn and Share Oral Health Tips
For older kids, be sure to brush the teeth two times every day and also floss regularly.
Everyone should visit the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears (yes, even babies!) and then go regularly after that, usually at least two times per year.
Start oral hygiene early with babies by wiping the gums with a soft cloth after eating.
Be sure children eat healthy foods that are good for the teeth (apples, carrots, etc.) and avoid sugary foods that can cause tooth decay.
Make Children’s Dental Health Month Fun
When kids associate dental health with fun and excitement (instead of stress and pain) they are more likely to want to take good care of their teeth and mouth. In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, parents, teachers and other kid influencers can try to engage with fun activities through crafts, music, songs, games, projects and other ways. The more kids are involved with oral health through things they enjoy, the more likely they will be to build good habits that last long into the future.
Get on board with some other days that encourage the celebration of good dental health and hygiene, including National Tooth Fairy Day and National Give Kids a Smile Day in February, or National Dentists Day in the month of March.