February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. The American Dental Association began this celebration to highlight the benefits and importance of good oral health for children, adults, and caregivers.
The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the initiative that added fluoride to our community water supplies. So, this year’s celebrations focus on the importance of fluoridated water.
Blackstone Family Dentistry is excited to celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM)! Here are some fun facts about why fluoridated water is essential, some easy ways to celebrate NCDHM, and practical steps to improve children’s oral health.
A brief history of fluoridated water and why it’s important
This year’s slogan is, “Fluoride in water prevents cavities! Get it from the tap!” The ADA is encouraging people to drink tap water (if it’s safe) instead of bottled water that often does not contain fluoride.
Did you know that dentists discovered the benefits of fluoride because of stained teeth? Dentists in Colorado and Arkansas noticed that many of their patients had brown stains on their teeth (a condition called “mottled enamel”). These dentists also observed that people with “mottled enamel” were less susceptible to cavities!
After years of investigation, the dentists concluded that the cause of the teeth stains was high levels of fluoride in their drinking water. (There was no public drinking water supply at the time, so many people drank from wells and other water sources.)
This discovery led to the establishment of the Dental Hygiene Unit at the National Institute of Health. It also sparked an initiative to add fluoride to all public water supplies to reduce the number of people who suffered from cavities and other oral health issues.
Studies have shown that adding fluoride to the public water supplies prevents at least 25% of cavities and tooth decay. It’s one of the easiest, safest, and most effective ways to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is naturally present in many sources of groundwater. Local water authorities simply adjust the fluoride levels to the ideal levels for oral health.
Ways to celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month
In addition to learning about the history of fluoridated water, the American Dental Association created some excellent resources for kids, parents, guardians, and dentists to celebrate NCDHM.
You can download and print fun activity sheets for kids at the NCDHM Campaign website. The whole family will enjoy learning more about fluoride with these puzzles, coloring pages, and other activities.
Easy steps to improve children’s oral health
National Children’s Dental Health Month is also a perfect time to improve your whole family’s oral health habits! Here are some easy ways to help your children keep their teeth healthy and strong:
- First tooth, first dentist visit: Baby teeth are critical for children’s overall oral health. Kids should make their first visit to the dentist when their first tooth comes in or around their first birthday. Contact Blackstone Family Dentistryto schedule your baby’s first dentist visit
- Prevent tooth decay in kid’s teeth to ward off other issues: Early childhood tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases. More than 40% of children have some tooth decay by the time they head to kindergarten. This disease can severely impact overall oral health, damage the adult teeth growing underneath baby teeth, and even lead to missed school and poor grades. Keep your kid’s teeth healthy by scheduling two routine dental checkups each year. During the checkup, a dental hygienist will clean your child’s teeth, and the dentist will check to make sure your little one’s mouth is healthy and strong. It’s important to catch and address problems early.
- Buy a new toothbrush: Did you know you’re supposed to get a new toothbrush every three months? What better month to get a new toothbrush than NCDH month! Old, frayed toothbrushes aren’t nearly as effective as new brushes.
- Find the plaque on your kid’s teeth:One fun activity to do with kids is using plaque-disclosing tablets. Plaque is nearly impossible to see, but incredibly damaging to their oral health. The plaque-disclosing tablets or mouthwash causes plaque to turn fun colors. Then you can look in the mirror together to see areas where everyone needs to improve their brushing.
Now you’re ready to join the National Children’s Dental Health Month celebrations! Blackstone Family Dentistry is always ready to help everyone in the family maintain healthy, strong teeth. Contact us today to learn more about our family-friendly services and schedule an appointment.