The Month of February has been deemed “National Children’s Dental Health Month” and the American Dental Association is urging adults to help teach children how to successfully defeat the “monster mouth”.
This observance combines the knowledge, expertise, and efforts of dental health professionals, doctors, and educators to encourage and promote the numerous benefits of optimal oral health in children.
Pediatric dentists and other professionals come together on February 6th to provide free-of-charge oral health services to kids in an effort to celebrate what is called “Give Kids a Smile Day”.
If you are seeking to encourage your child to engage in oral health activities that will ensure that they maintain a healthy and beautiful smile for the duration of a lifetime, there are multiple activities and methods of ensuring success this month.
This year’s theme brings together many interesting and engaging characters to promote dental health. These include the McGrinn Twins, Gen Smiley, Flossy, K-9 the Dog, Buck, and Den. These characters come together in a highly-creative storyline that involves them working to overcome the vicious, “Plaqster the Monster”. There are many resources available that specifically outline how children may defeat this monster. Examples include posters, coloring pages, and activity pages. Each of these resources place a special emphasis on the importance of a healthy diet, brushing the teeth, flossing thoroughly, and rinsing potentially damaging and/or infectious debris from the mouth.
An Urgent Need
According to reports based on comprehensive studies, students in the United States miss approximately 51 million hours of academic hours in school each and every single year as a result of oral health complications. Most children are in the age group where they are being presented with necessary skills and concepts in reading and math. Additionally, it has been found that kids that suffer from dental health problems – such as pain from cavities and decay – are more likely to suffer from very low grade point averages.
The activities presented to children during the Month of February encourage each child to brush the teeth for a minimum of two minutes at least twice each day. Additionally, children are encouraged to read for at least 20 minutes a day. Not only does this help develop productive literacy habits, but, it is also considered to be an effective means of building optimal oral health.
A one-day event celebrated in Cleveland, Ohio and a one-week event that was celebrated in Akron, Ohio in the year of 1941 are the basis to the National Children’s Dental Health Month. The program – which started in just two cities -has now grown into a national event, which was officially created into a day-long celebration on February 8th 1949. In 1955, oral health professionals agreed that the event should last at least one week. Then, in the year of 1981, it was finally established into a month-long program.
Today, there are many contests such as poster creation, essay creation, and coloring, there are many health fairs, dental professionals often offer free dental screenings, there are presentations given in the classroom, tours of dental facilities offered, as well as exhibits within specially-designed museums.