Time to bring out the toothbrushes! In case you haven’t heard, February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Whether you’re parenting an adolescent or a pre-teen, it’s a great time to raise awareness of the importance of oral health. Moreover, it’s an excellent time to build their dental foundation as they grow up. That said, what should you know about this year’s Children’s Dental Health Month?
For one, it’s essential to know what this year’s Children’s Dental Health Month celebrates. While the idea of having fluoride in your water seems familiar to us now, 75 years ago, it wasn’t something you’d find in any state. During that time, tooth decay was on the rise, particularly in young children. Then, in 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the first city to add fluoride into their community water sources. And the rest was history.
Fluoridated water, as we know it, helps cut down tooth decay instances by 25% in both adults and children. But giving your children the healthy smile they deserve goes beyond fluoridated water. Children’s Dental Health Month helps raise awareness on the other ways you can help your children have good oral health.
That said, what should you know about National Children’s Dental Health Month?
A Brief History & Overview of Children’s Dental Health Month
Before there was a Children’s Dental Health Month, observances were happening in Ohio
Before the National Children’s Dental Health Month became the month-long event we know it to be, it was first a series of celebrations in Ohio in two cities, in particular—Cleveland and Akron.
In Cleveland, the observance lasted for one day on February 3, 1941. Akron, on the other hand, extended the celebration to one week during the same month. The Ohio Dental Association notes that the events were meant to raise awareness of the importance of oral health, specifically in children. Ohio dental professionals were particularly active in bringing this into existence.
The first Children’s Dental Health Day began in 1949
Eventually, the American Dental Association extended the celebrations nationwide, starting with the Children’s Dental Health Day held on February 8, 1949. This means that more cities and states had a chance to raise awareness of the ways one can give their children good oral health.
Dental professionals, as with the rest of the observances, played a crucial role in making the one-day event successful. The event was then extended to a week-long celebration in 1955.
The National Children’s Dental Health Month officially started in 1981
National Children’s Dental Health Month eventually found its first life in 1981. Jumping off from the efforts of its predecessors, the NCDHM—as it is often abbreviated—not only had a wider reach. The month-long celebration also ensured enough time for these good oral health practices to make an impact, particularly on pediatric patients. With the help of dental professionals, NCHDM highlights specific issues in children’s dental health within each community. From here, an array of programs are made to target these problems.