The depth of winter is an exciting time for us in the dental field. Why? Every February, for the last 76 years, the American Dental Association has recognized the unique importance of oral hygiene for children. Many are surprised to learn the tradition of this yearly happening is rooted in World War II era America.
National Children’s Dental Health Month was born out of a day of recognition in 1941, taking place in Cleveland, Ohio. Over time, the tradition has blossomed into a national day of recognition used by general dentists to educate their patients. As Dr. Cesar R. Sabates, chair of the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations stated, “National Children’s Dental Health Month has become the symbol of what can happen when thousands of dedicated dental professionals, healthcare providers and educators come together to help bring awareness to the importance of oral healthcare.”
This year’s NCDHM campaign slogan, “Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth for a healthy smile” was chosen to remind children that the daily habit of teeth brushing is the best and easiest way to fight tooth decay.
A Unique Mission of Protecting Dental Health
You may be wondering what the importance is of oral hygiene specifically for youth. The truth is, it goes beyond the need to develop strong preventive oral care in our children. More than half of children are affected by tooth decay related issues before their fifth birthday. The disruptive effects poor oral hygiene has on children spills into all realms of their life, affecting their well-being and academic growth. You may not think that dental damage spills into school time, but in actuality an astounding 51 million hours of cumulative school time are lost each year to the plight of bad oral hygiene. Tooth decay is the most prevalent childhood illness, more common than even asthma or early childhood obesity. Combating childhood tooth decay is a daily goal of dental professionals, and Children’s Dental Health Month is one way that goal is achieved.
February is a great time to schedule your child’s bi-annual cleaning and dental checkup! At Gentle Dental Center, we work hard to educate families about the need for good oral hygiene. Our doctors and hygienists are always available to help your child practice their brushing skills, and to support you in learning and teaching the proper techniques! Contact us at (757) 431-1300 for an appointment, we are happy to hear from you!