If you did not already know, February is National Children’s dental Health Month. This month-long national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated professionals, health care providers and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, caregivers, teachers and many others. February may be wrapping up, but you can still do something fun in honor of NCDHM! Whether you make a post about it on your practice’s social account or pitch a story to your local news station — every little bit helps to promote awareness about the importance of our little patients and their oral health.
Here are a few suggested topics to post or talk about to get your wheels turning:
dental visit by age 1: Most of the public (cough…even some dentists) are not aware that the official recommendation from the ADA and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is that children establish a dental home by age 1. Yes, it’s going to be a quick visit. Yes, it may be a teeny bit noisy. But study after study shows that the establishment of a dental home has led to better outcomes for children’s oral health, overall health, academic performance and more. When we see kiddos regularly starting this young, we have plenty of time to talk to parents about caries prevention, nutrition and trauma prevention. A lap or knee-knee exam can be a quick, easy and fun way to see kids under 3. If you’re not sure where to start, here is a quick video of how lap exams go in my office.
Sugar(bugs): The ADA is really focusing on creating awareness about how harmful sugar is — and for good reason! The public is receiving confusing mixed messages about what is healthy and what’s not. As oral health care professionals, we all know diet and caries are directly related, but this isn’t always common sense to our patients and the public.
dental caries is the most common chronic disease of childhood: More common than obesity, diabetes and asthma. It’s so common that it is sadly often labeled as a silent epidemic. More than half of children aged 6-8 years old have already had a cavity in their lifetime.
So, what can you do?
• Post about any of these topics on social media.
• Volunteer to visit a local school and give a presentation on foods that are “good” and “bad” for your teeth. Bonus points if the tooth fairy comes along!
• Drop off one of these free NCDHM posters from the ADA to your local pediatrician’s or school nurse’s offices.
• Contact your local news stations to pitch a segment about NCDHM and use the talking points above.
• Consider hosting a Give Kids A Smile day in your practice — even if it’s only for sealants and fluoride.
• Volunteer with a local dental nonprofit (shameless plug alert: For any of you Texas licensed dentists, we’d love to have you volunteer with Kids tooth Team Outreach!)