Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health for our community’s children.
The American Dental Association held the first national observance of Children’s Dental Health Day on February 8, 1949. This single day observance became a week-long event in 1955. In 1981, the program was extended to a month-long celebration known today as National Children's Dental Health Month.
Every year the National Children’s Dental Health Month messages and materials have reached millions of people in communities like St. James all across the country.
This year’s National Children’s Dental Health Month campaign features the slogan ‘GET A GOLD MEDAL SMILE’ ©2012 American Dental Association. A gold medal smile is something all children would cherish.
According to the American Dental Association, 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.
Dr. Sean Vostad of the St. James Family Dentistry said it’s easier to maintain healthy gums and teeth in a child when they get started visiting a Dentist at a young age.
He praised the Children's Dental Health Month program as a way to draw attention to begin getting check ups at an early age.
“It’s easier for children to begin getting check ups at a young at age like two or three,” Dr. Vostad said. It’s about building positive experiences for children.
It can be harder for a child to get into regular dental visits if his or her first visit to a dentist isn’t until seven or nine and the child has a mouthful of cavities.
Another thing the St. James Family Dentistry practice stresses is the importance of fluoride. City water is fluoridated, but rural well water is not. The practice has fluoridation supplements for children living in the country.
The ADA says whether you're a teacher or a parent, the American Dental Association has free online resources that can help anyone with oral health presentations. These are ideas that are good for the classroom and coloring and activity sheets that can be given to children.
The 2013 National Childrens Dental Health Month campaign brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, health care providers, concerned parents and others to promote the benefits of good oral health to children and adults, caregivers, teachers, and many others.
Page 2 of 2 - The youth materials in this year’s campaign features the McGrinn Twins, Flossy and Buck along with their best friends and next-door neighbors Den and Gen Smiley, going for the fold to get a winning smile. The pre-teens/teens materials features kids going the distance for a gold medal smile.
The material can be accessed at the American Dental Association’s website - http://www.ada.org/5578.aspx#sheets
The site includes free posters, activity sheets, puzzles and coloring sheets. There are also how to do brochures focusing on items such as learning how to floss. These free items are written in both English and Spanish.
The National Children’s Dental Health Month Program Planning Guide offers program coordinators, dental societies, teachers and parents resources to promote the benefits of good oral health to children.
The guide includes easy-to-do activities, program planning timetable tips.
Another program focuses on children’s dental health is the American Dental Association’s Give Kids A Smile. The Give Kids A Smile program began in 2003.