two little girls hug in a field of flowers celebrating national childrens dental health month

February is National Children’s Dental Health month! Why it’s important

It’s that time of year again…National Children’s Dental Health Month is here! Parents, we hope you’re excited as our Kids Smiles Team is about this February holiday. But if you’re lost on the significance of this month, we’re here to support you and your littles!

February isn’t just about heart-shaped chocolates and getting cute Valentine’s Day cards; it’s also a month full of new and fun ways to get your child excited about caring for their teeth. Here’s why this month is such a big deal for kids and their families.

Why is Children’s Dental Health Month important?

Let’s start with the big question – why does National Children’s Dental Health Month even matter? Well, let’s look at it this way…cavities are still the most common childhood disease in America today. In fact, more than 1 out 5 children (aged 2- 5 years) have at least one cavity and there’s research to support that children with poor oral health miss more school and have lower grades. We know you want the best for your child – in health and in growth, that’s why we do what we can to make dental health care fun for you and your child. We like to believe all of us share the same dream – pediatric dentists, teachers, caregivers, and parents alike – a world where every child grows up with a bright, healthy smile! So how can we get there? By using all the resources available to us and the ADA has some great ones this year!

Let’s talk about the 2024 National Children’s Dental Health Month theme…“Healthy Habits for Healthy Smiles”.

What “Healthy Habits for Healthy Smiles” means

“Healthy Habits for Healthy Smiles” just means that the foundation of a healthy smile starts with healthy habits! The more your child practices healthy habits, the better their oral health is, aka the whiter and brighter their smile is. So what are these healthy habits?

  1. Have your child brush their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Have your child floss once a day.
  3. Encourage your child to eat healthy foods and limit sugary beverages.
  4. Make sure they see their dentist twice a year for checkups.

Healthy smiles essentials: tools to build a healthy smile for your child

So how exactly do you as parents accomplish this? Here’s 5 things you can do as a parent with your child to help build up a strong oral hygiene routine and make dental care fun!

  1. Have your child choose colorful and fun toothbrushes. There’s tons of cool and interesting toothbrushes out there for kids. Just make sure they’re ADA-approved toothbrushes and age appropriate (toothbrushes with smaller heads can help take the frustration out of toothbrushing for younger kids and get them excited about a toothbrush that’s “just their size”).
  2. Use reward charts and stickers. Positive reinforcement is great for creating habits. You can make or buy your child’s own tooth brushing chart or print off a free one here on the ADA site.
  3. Show them educational videos and give them cool books about dental health. YouTube can be a great resource for fun and silly songs or videos about the importance of brushing teeth. Just simply search “education videos for x year old kids”. You can also find fun and informative books on dental health for kids on Amazon and by staying tuned for new blog posts from our Kids Smiles Team!
  4. Give them healthy snack options. Food is a great way to ensure your child is getting the proper nutrition they need for healthy growth and development, and plays a vital role in their oral health. You can offer fresh fruits, crunchy vegetables, and dairy products throughout the day. Be sure to tell them how each healthy snack item helps their teeth. If you’re unsure, check out this blog post for more information on what certain foods do for your kids teeth.
  5. Get your child’s dentist appointments scheduled for 2024! Take this month as your friendly reminder to schedule your child’s bi-annual dental check up. These appointments can help detect issues early on, before they worsen into bigger problems.

Still have questions about the importance of National Children’s Dental Health Month?

Our experienced Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry team is here to help you and your child develop healthy habits that lead to a lifetime of beautiful smiles. We’re here to give you any oral hygiene tips you need!

Our team is led by renowned pediatric dentist, Dr. Frank Sierra, who has more than 25 years of experience providing compassionate, expert care for children and teens.

We are your trusted pediatric dentist in Tampa Bay and East Bradenton! Schedule an appointment with us today!