National Children’s Dental Health Month began on February 3, 1941, more than 81 years ago! Every February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors this campaign to raise awareness of the importance of developing good oral health habits at a young age. This month of observance brings together professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to teach children about the importance of caring for their teeth, gums, and mouth. Many TAO (Texas Association of Orthodontists) member practices will also encourage and communicate good oral health habits to their patients and communities.
How you Can Get Involved
It’s easy to forget that your teeth, no matter how old you are, require constant attention. Not worrying about brushing or flossing because “they’re just baby teeth and will fall out anyway” is tempting when kids are young. However, instilling good dental hygiene habits in children at a young age ensures that they will continue to practice them throughout their lives.
Talking to your own children about why it’s so important for them to take care of their teeth is a really simple way to observe this month. They should understand that their teeth become dirty every time they eat, and to stay healthy, they should brush twice a day and floss. You can explain to them what happens when teeth aren’t properly cared for, as well as the damage plaque can cause.
In addition to educating them on the importance of cleaning, you can also discuss why straight teeth are beneficial to their oral health. Straight teeth are easier to clean, and they will experience less wear and tear than if they are misaligned.
Visit a Dentist and an Orthodontist with Your Child
Another great way to celebrate this month is to take your child to see a dentist and orthodontist. Make an appointment to have them examined if it has been more than six months since they last saw a dentist. Cleanings performed by a dentist are more effective than routine cleanings performed at home. Having the dentist discuss the importance of brushing and flossing with children who may not take it as seriously as they should, can also make a big difference.
Make an appointment with an orthodontist if your child is at least seven years old. While many children do not require orthodontic treatment at this age, the orthodontist can monitor their teeth and jaws as they develop. If your child does have a problem, such as a narrow jaw or an incorrect bite, these can be corrected more easily when they are younger rather than in their teen years when their jaws are more established.
National Children’s Dental Health Month is an important month for raising awareness about children’s dental health, but the issues that are highlighted this month should be highlighted throughout the year. It should always be a priority. Don’t be afraid to ask the specialists at Texas Association of Orthodontists if you have any questions about dental or orthodontic health for yourself or your child. Please visit our online directory to locate a TAO member office near you.