Even though it’s the shortest month of the year, there’s a lot to celebrate in February. Beyond Valentine’s Day and President’s Day, now educators and clinicians across America are recognizing this cold winter month as the official time to promote better oral health for our nation’s youth. It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month: a time to educate, innovate, and inspire among communities across the nation, to get the message out that we need to start protecting our oral health at an early age.
It’s a vital message. Did you know that, though easily preventable, tooth decay is one of the most common diseases among school-aged children? Recent studies show that American students are missing a whopping 51 million hours of school annually due to toothaches and other oral health-related issues. Further, it’s been proven that students who experience chronic dental pain perform worse academically than their peers who are pain-free. Keeping students’ dental health in check is vital for their overall development, and the earlier that intervention starts, the better. American children need to be brushing for at least two minutes twice a day, and oral health education needs to occur early and often.
Whole communities can take broad steps to ensure that oral health intervention starts early. By spreading education and awareness to children in their schools, hospitals, local clinics, and even at home, communities can help ensure that children adopt smart, safe oral hygiene practices at an early age. Brushing with fluoride-based toothpaste and learning to floss early-on are important components of this young-adult curriculum. And spreading the news of the importance of community water fluoridation is another great way to get communities working together in the interest of better dental health.
So, how do we get the word out? A lot of organizations and health associations have risen to the challenge, taking up the mantle in spreading awareness. The American Dental Association (ADA) is one such pioneer. The Association works all year-long to bring together clinicians, educators, community leaders, caregivers and parents in the month of February with educational events and seminars. Further, the ADA provides much-needed resources and program guides for local providers and educators to champion the message in their own communities. Press release how-to’s, kids’ activity sheets and educational guides, and even free posters are all available from the ADA’s website for educators and clinicians wanting to spread awareness in their own offices, schools, or other community centers.
The ADA is not the only association that’s heeding the call. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research is also an active partner in promoting National Children’s Dental Health Month. The National Education Association is also doing its part: these groups are working together to ensure messages are instilled both in medical practices and schools and even at home. A lot of great organization have gotten behind this necessary cause and are doing their part to spread awareness and spur change this February for National Children’s Dental Health Month. If you have questions or are interested in learning more about this vital initiative, talk to the friendly, knowledgeable dentists at Absolute Smile. We’re Philadelphia’s premier dentists, and we’re here to help give kids the best fighting chance at maintaining great dental health for life by starting early and building powerful and effective habits.