February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), during which health care providers, dental professionals, and teachers make efforts to promote the benefits of good oral health care for children. NCDHM, which is sponsored by the American Dental Association, raises awareness about the importance of good oral health. Both children and their parents are encouraged to brush their teeth two times per day for two minutes to build good habits. This year’s NCDHM campaign slogan is “Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile.”
Even though tooth decay is preventable, it is the most chronic children’s disease today. Using oral hygiene practices like using strong fluoride toothpaste to brush will help children from getting cavities. Other strategies for the prevention of tooth decay include eating healthy foods, the use of dental sealants, and fluoridation of community water. Fluoride is the most effective way to prevent cavities, but more than 100 million Americans do not get enough fluoride from their tap water on a regular basis.
Many cavities often go without treatment either due to lack of health care or irregular dental visits. In a study by the CDC, it is estimated that approximately 42% of children ages 2-11 have cavities that have not been treated. Untreated cavities not only affect a child’s dental health and/or self-esteem, but they can also affect their academic and attendance performance. As reported by the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools, approximately 51 million school hours are missed by children due to dental-related issues.
Helping your child develop healthy dental habits when they are young and scheduling regular dental appointments will help prevent cavities and allow for healthy teeth and gums. There are many free online resources are available to teach kids about maintaining good health care. The ADA, in partnership with Crest + Oral B, has a list of ways to promote National Children’s Dental Health Month listed on their website.
Additional ways to participate with your child include brushing and flossing together as part of your daily activity. Kids learn good oral health if adults show them the right way. The ADA website also has arts and crafts projects that you can do with your children for the celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month for the month of February. You can also visit Babylon Dental Care for the list of dental services we offer for preventable dental care or contact us at (631) 983-6665.