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Coming Up: February is National Children's Dental Health Month

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Children’s dental health probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of February, however the American Dental Association has been pairing the two since 1949. The first national observance started as a single day and roughly 30 years later it was extended to a month long celebration known today as National Children’s Dental Health Month. This month also hosts Give Kids a Smile Day, a day where the dental community comes together to provide free care.

Why is it important to promote children’s dental health?

Attitudes and habits that are established at an early age are more likely to last a lifetime; therefore instilling the proper oral hygiene early on is critical. In 2014, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that by age 5, about 60% of U.S. children will have cavities. Tooth decay remains the number one chronic childhood illness in America. Children with tooth decay are more likely to have ear and sinus infections and their chance of developing other chronic problems like obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease is also increased. Meanwhile, the NADP recently reported that 114 million Americans do not even have dental coverage. Despite disappointing statistics, with access to dental health care and educational resources, tooth decay is both treatable and preventable.

Kids Smiles’ is excited to take part in this month of awareness because it promotes the mission we live by every day. We want the nation to know of our constant effort to positively impact dental health in our communities and our ability to provide affordable and free care. Ninety-one percent of Kids Smiles patients receive public insurance or are uninsured and our education and outreach programs reach nearly 20,000 families a year. That is what National Children’s Dental Health Month is all about: providing dental care and education to those who need the greatest care, our children.

Be sure to check back in February when we’ll need everyone’s help to Grin & Share It on Give Kids a Smile Day!

Photo: Paige Quill, Kids Smiles Community Educator, gives a dental health lesson to patients in the Kids Smiles waiting room.