Dental Health Month

Published: February 16, 2022

February is National Children's Dental Health Month! The American Dental Association held the first Children’s Dental Health Day on February 8, 1949. This one-day observance became a weeklong event in 1955 and in 1981, a month-long observance known today as National Children’s Dental Health Month was created.

Children’s Dental Health Month is a great time to spread awareness about the importance of children’s dental health. Early dental health attitudes and habits are important in maintaining good oral health throughout life.

The number one childhood disease is tooth decay. 56% of U.S. children ages 6-8 have untreated cavities, and gum disease affects 50% of kids. Kids with cavities in their baby teeth are 3x more likely to get cavities in their adult teeth. Kids with poor oral health are 3x more likely to miss school and 2x more likely to perform poorly.

CATCH Healthy Smiles, a Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living research project funded by the National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research, has informative children’s dental health resources available for parents or guardians. These materials and resources can help schools, parents and children learn about oral health, and develop family routines around dental care.

Faculty from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living are leading a large randomized controlled trial to assess the impact of the CATCH Healthy Smiles program on preventing dental caries among young children in Texas.

Children’s dental health can be a confusing and overwhelming topic to learn more about, but below are a few helpful tips for parents to encourage healthy child dental habits! 

  1. Be sure to rinse mouth with water after eating or drinking to get rid of any left-over sugar or food stuck to teeth
  2. Brush for 2 minutes at least twice a day (an adult can supervise and help if needed)
  3. Floss teeth at least once a day
  4. Visit the dentist at least twice a year
  5. Cut out sugar:
  • Avoid soda
    • Soda contains high sugar and high acidity which can harm teeth
  • Avoid candy and sticky sugary foods
    • Candy, especially sticky candy can increase risk of cavities
  • Limit Juice
    • Juice is high in sugar 
  • Limit Sports Drinks
    • Water is the best way to hydrate and maintain tooth health
  • Choose crunchy fresh fruits and veggies
    • Crunchy fresh fruits and veggies can help clean your teeth!

The Campaign for Dental Health Life is Better with teeth also has some great resources available:

  • This 30 second video is super helpful in explaining tooth brushing technique
  • This 1 minute video is super helpful in explaining how Fluoride protects teeth

We hope you join in this Children's Dental health month and learn something new!