The dental health of children is unique from adults, so it’s no wonder we dedicate an entire month to raise awareness about the best oral care practices for our little ones! After all, it’s vital that children understand how to keep their teeth healthy because this is a skill that lasts a lifetime and saves them from unnecessary issues down the road. It’s also important that kids understand how teeth change over time, whether they are losing their baby teeth or getting braces. And since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), we wanted to share some information with you to help you make the most of it!
A brief history of National Children’s Dental Health Month
While the NCDHM started as a one-day event in 1941, the American Dental Association (ADA) had the inaugural national observance day in February of 1949. Six years later, the observance of this event extended to a week, and in 1981 it became a month long. The primary purpose of Nation Children’s Dental Health Month is to raise awareness about why oral health is important and to provide educational material to help kids develop good habits early in life.
What to expect this year for NCDHM
This year, the NCDHM slogan is: “Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and clean between teeth for a healthy smile.” You can expect to see posters and many resources such as fun activity sheets for kids about the best practices for keeping teeth healthy. There may also be different activities around your local area that spends time focusing on NCDHM. And of course, Lowes Island Dentistry will be celebrating and educating patients this month as well!
How to engage with your kids during dental health month
It can be tricky to get kids excited about National Children’s Health Month – but trust that it’s not impossible! Here we have just a few ideas:
1. Get kids involved in the conversation when visiting the dentists
By getting kids involved in the conversation about oral health, they’ll be more enlightened and engaged. Sometimes we forget that we don’t need the dentist to relay to the parent the proper techniques for brushing and flossing when they’ll simply have to turn around and teach their children. Hearing it straight from the mouth of the dentist (as well as parents) is the best way to ensure the message is received.
2. Incorporate props and hands-on items to teach
Kids love looking at dental tooth models and enjoy the learning process more when these are used to show how to floss and brush. While having a conversation is a start, when you add a few props, you can really see children pay attention. Kids also learn from other hands-on activities such as plaque disclosing tablets.
3. Consider using online teaching materials
Kids are online as much as adults these days, and you can put that to good use by finding digital teaching materials that show kids (in a fun way) the importance of oral health. Learning how to complete tasks correctly like brushing and flossing via educational videos can at least get the door open for you to have a conversation.
4. Turn the event into a trivia game with prizes
If you can get a group of kids together, you can turn oral health into a fun trivia game with prizes. Make sure that you stick to prizes focused on oral health like fun toothbrushes or cool timers for longer brushing.
5. Make children’s dental health a focus throughout the year!
Just because National Children’s Dental Health Month is only in February doesn’t mean you can’t keep the conversation alive throughout the year! Make sure you’re teaching your kids good habits by scheduling (and keeping) yearly cleanings and practicing what you preach by making flossing and brushing a part of your health routine.
To talk to us further about your family’s dental health or to schedule an appointment, call Lowes Island Dentistry at (703) 596-4206 or click right here.