National Children’s Dental Health Month

By Catherine M. Fascilla, D.D.S.

Did you know that February is National Dental Health Month? Throughout the United States, dental organizations, offices, companies, schools, armed service bases and other groups will participate in events designed to raise awareness to the importance of good oral health to children and to their caregivers.

What started as a humble one-day event in Cleveland, Ohio and a week long event in Akron, Ohio in February of 1941 became a national observance when the American Dental Association (ADA) held the first Children’s Dental Health Day on Feb. 8, 1949. By 1955, it became a weeklong event and in 1981, the program was extended to one month.

This year the campaign’s slogan is “Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile”. The ADA has partnered with Crest and Oral B to provide educational materials like posters, puzzles and coloring pages to schools and community centers educating and motivating children to brush and floss and to eat healthy foods and snacks.

In 2003, the ADA launched Give Kids A Smile Day as a way to provide free dental care to underserved children. The program now provides dental treatment to millions of children throughout the US as the tens of thousands of volunteer dentists and team members gather in various locations to serve the needs of their communities. On this one day, dentists provide free pediatric dental care including cleanings, fillings, extractions, and in some cases, limited lab work. It is a way for dentists to to give back to their community. Locally, the Nassau County Dental Association hosts Give Kids A Smile Day at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.

Throughout the month of February, dentists will visit their local schools to educate children. Every year I and members of my staff, visit the second grade classes at Cherry Lane Elementary School here in Carle Place. We engage the children in interactive activities that include a fun and educational video presentation, a brief question and answer session regarding the content of the video, a demonstration of brushing and flossing using our mammoth sized dental models, dress up and the huge hit, a word search. The children have a great time. They learn alot and leave with smiles on their faces and free tooth brushes and floss in hand.

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