How February Promotes Kids' Dental Care

February is an important month to kids' dental care because it marks the observance of the American Dental Association's (ADA) National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM). What started in 1941 as a one-day event in Cleveland, Ohio, this month has progressed remarkably over the years. The ADA held the first national observance of Children's Dental Health Day on February 8, 1949. After the observance became a weeklong event in 1955, the program was extended to a month-long celebration in 1981 – known today as National Children's Dental Health Month.

Why We Have National Children's Dental Health Month

NCDHM raises awareness of how important it is for children to develop good oral habits at an early age to ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) regularly recommends that children receive their first dental exam no later than one year of age to head off potential early dental problems.

Kids' dental care also depends on parents to review certain areas of prevention with their dental professional. This includes tooth decay, what thumb-sucking can do to baby teeth and how to get your child to become familiar with his or her dental office's surroundings. In later years, your attention should focus on the prevention of crowded teeth and healthy gums, both achievable by seeing a dentist at least twice a year for an oral examination and professional cleaning.

What Colgate Has Done This February

Colgate has been a proud sponsor of NCDHM for many years, and virtually all of its products have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance in part for its value to kids' oral health. Through Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® program, children in need also receive free dental screenings and education to help build good habits, self-esteem and a foundation for success in personal oral hygiene. Through a variety of mobile dental vans, the campaign has treated over a half-billion children in over 80 countries with preventive exams and the distribution of preventive dental products.

In the United States, Colgate's classroom-based curriculum reaches nearly nine out of every 10 kindergarten students each year, with more than 3.5 million children in all 50 states and more than 750,000 kids through its partnership with the Head Start program. The initiative also distributes videos and games that make learning about good preventive care fun and easy to grasp.

Colgate also manufactures a large array of children's oral health care products designed for all ages and types of smiles. Younger children, for example, may benefit from a Colgate® Kids character toothbrush to compensate for physiological conditions that prevent them from cleaning the entire mouth.

With these products and teaching materials, kids' dental care can go a long way to making sure every child has a lifetime of healthy teeth.

Learn more about how kids can care for their teeth in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

About the author: Dr. Huot is the founder and CEO of Beachside Dental Consultants, Inc. He has lectured at many meetings across the country, and his past articles have been featured in Dental Products Report, Dental Economics, Dental Practicolgatee Report, ADA News, and state dental journals. Dr. Huot retired in 2012 as a colonel in the USAF Reserve Dental Corps after 30 years of service, after serving as Commander of the 920th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Patrick AFB, Florida. A past president of the Maine Dental Association in 1994, and the 2006 president of the Atlantic Coast District Dental Association in Florida, Dr Huot currently serves as a member of the Florida Dental Association Board of Trustees, and a board member of the American Dental Association Council on Government Affairs. Dr. Huot is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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