February is National Children’s Dental Health Month!

Gold Medal Smile Skater

Get a Gold Medal Smile

Every four years in February we all look forward to the Winter Olympics – skiing, hockey, figure skating. But did you know that each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month? Now in it’s 63rd year, National Children’s Dental Health Month helps to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and increase consciousness about the value of oral health amongst our youth. The goal of the NCDHM is to educate children on developing good dental habits, encouraging scheduled dental visits, and to promote healthy eating habits across the country. This year’s theme is timely given the quest for gold in Sochi – “Get a Gold Medal Smile.”

While we all may support different Olympic athletes/teams and have our must-see sport, the health and well-being of children is one of the few issues the majority of Americans readily support without much argument. Poor oral health care among children is a growing epidemic that not only affects their teeth, but also their intellectual and social development, and overall health. According to a report by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), tooth decay in young children can lead to malnutrition, life-threatening infections, poor school performance, and reluctance to speak, smile and play. In fact, reports show that American students miss 51 million hours of school every year because of oral health problems.

As February passes, dental health education should continue month-to-month…for children and adults alike. For a fun, informative, and easy to use website about oral health for all ages, visit the ADA MouthHealthy website at www.mouthhealthy.org

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