Time to celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month

Staci Violante, RDH, looks at the importance of dental hygienists’ involvement in National Children’s Dental Health Month.

Feb 1st, 2019

National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) is celebrated each February to raise awareness of the importance of oral health care in children. The campaign, now in its 63rd year, is observed by dental professionals and dental companies alike. As Colgate notes on its website, NCDHM “brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, health-care providers, and others to promote the benefits of good oral health to children and adults, caregivers, teachers, and many others.”1

This year’s catchy slogan is “Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile.”2 It focuses on oral hygiene practices and draws attention to safe and effective preventive measures that can be practiced at home.

To date, tooth decay is still the most prevalent disease in children, with 42% of children ages 2–11 developing one or more cavities in their primary teeth.1 As hygienists and health professionals, we are at the forefront to provide oral health education. We can prevent the spread of tooth decay in our pediatric patients because we are fortunate enough to have the resources to prevent oral disease and provide access to care.

The American Dental Association, which sponsors and promotes NCDHM each year, notes that “developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.”2 NCDHM has many other supporters, such as ones who provide free health education materials. These materials include activities for all ages, teaching guides, videos, and presentations.

In this month’s issue, there are four articles that will help shape your perspective of children’s oral health. Kory Nieuwkoop looks at tethered oral tissues (p. 20), which can have profound effects on children’s oral health. Colleen Roy explains how CBCT is being used in pediatric dentistry (p. 24). Alyssa Delgado presents her favorite products for kids (p. 30). Finally, Nancy Burkhart gives tips on how to teach oral health care to children (p. 33).

Take advantage of the wealth of information and tools available to promote children’s oral health where you are—in homes, in classrooms, in dental offices, and in any health-care facility. As hygienists, we can aid in the celebration of this great event and promote healthy smiles to all.

Staci Violante, MSDH, RDH

RDH Editorial Advisory Board

References

1. February Is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Colgate website. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/childrens-oral-care/ada-02-february-is-national-children-s-dental-health-month. Accessed January 15, 2019.

2. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. American Dental Association website. https://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month. Accessed January 15, 2019.

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