February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) and a time meant to bring awareness to children, caregivers and educators about the importance of developing good oral habits at an early age. What was first observed by the ADA as a one-day event in 1949 has evolved into a monthlong celebration uniting dental professionals across the county to hold special events, classroom visits and more to carry out this mission.
This year’s campaign focuses on the benefits of drinking tap water, using the slogan, “Water: Nature’s Drink.” You can visit the 2021 NCDHM campaign website to download free materials such as a program planning guide, themed posters, coloring sheets for kids and more to celebrate the month – many of which are available in Spanish.
Each year, this month also brings one of the largest charitable dental programs – Give Kids A Smile® (GKAS) – where dental teams participate in events dedicated to providing free oral care and education to children from low-income families. To-date, the program has helped over 6 million underserved kids receive free oral health services.
If you’re a dental professional who would like to volunteer in a GKAS event, you can find a local event listing here (ADA login required) or you can contact [email protected] for help getting matched.
Whether you’re hosting, planning or promoting a GKAS event, be sure to check out the GKAS webpage for all the tools and guidance you’ll need.
Although teaching caregivers about the keys to their children’s oral health and their own is always relevant, it is especially important to promote this message in a time when patients continue to delay dental appointments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And the best way to do this is to give back to your community and get involved.
To celebrate NCDHM, the WDA issued a news release last week that aims to bring attention to the benefits of finding a dental home for kids. You can read this by visiting the WDA.org media center.