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February 2007

NHM Health Focus: Children's Dental Health


For Students
 – Why is dental health important? (Girl Power, HHS)
 – Do you know your teeth? (ADHA)
 – Oral Health Education Database (NSDA)
 – Taking Care of Your Teeth (KidsHealth, Nemours)
 – SmileKids (Delta Dental)

Dental Health Information
 – Dental Health (MedlinePlus, NLM)
 – Oral Health Topics A-Z (ADA)

For Teachers & Parents
 – Oral Health Curriculum (ADA)
 – Classroom Ideas & Resources (ADA)
 – Gumming Up the Works (Science-Friday)
 – Protecting Children's Oral Health (AAP)
 – Dental Health Guide (KeepKidsHealth.com)
 – How to Care for Your Child's Teeth (AAFP)

Dental Health Initiatives
 – Oral Health Services (HRSA
 – National Call to Action (HHS)
 – Oral Health (WHO)
 – Give Kids a Smile Day (ADA)

Children's Dental Health month is celebrated each year in February.

"Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic infectious diseases among U.S. children. This preventable health problem begins early: 28 percent of children aged 2-5 years have already had decay in their primary (baby) teeth. By the age of 11, approximately half of children have experienced decay, and by the age of 19, tooth decay in the permanent teeth affects two-thirds (68 percent) of adolescents. Low-income children have twice as much untreated decay as children in families with higher incomes.  This may result in pain, dysfunction, underweight, and poor appearance—problems that can greatly reduce a child's capacity to succeed in the educational environment." (CDC)

For the best possible dental health, children (as well as teens and adults) need a combination of personal and professional tooth care.

Prevention begins at home with a healthy diet and regular brushing and flossing. See How Stuff Works for a detailed description of how to brush. The included explanations may even persuade the most reluctant brushers. Proper Flossing is an illustrated set of flossing instructions posted by the The American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA). Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments describes of some of the consequences of poor dental hygiene and lack of professional dental care.

Give Kids a Smile Day, (Friday, February 2, 2007) is designed to provide dental care for children basic dental care and to raise awareness of this serious health problem. It is one of several local, regional and national initiatives designed to help make policymakers and the general public aware of the severity of the problem and to promote efforts towards its solution.

Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has these resources related to dental health:

Health Headquarters: Health Focus - Children's Health Month
Health Headquarters: Health Focus - Dental Hygiene
Health Headquarters: Health Focus - Allied Health Professions
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Dental Health