February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. What started in February 1941 in two cities in Ohio has developed over the years into a month long combined observance of the American Dental Association and the National Education Association.
Surprisingly, reports show that American students miss 51 million hours of school every year because of oral health problems. Students who are absent miss critical instruction time—especially in early grades where reading skills are an important focus and the building blocks of future learning. Also, students who have experienced recent oral health pain are four times more likely to have lower grade point averages than their counterparts who have not.
The goal of both the NEA and the ADA is to reach communities around the country, to raise awareness, to give information and guidance, and to help develop habits of good oral health starting at an early age. Posters, coloring contests, health fairs, essay contests, museum exhibits, classroom presentations, dental office tours, and free dental screenings are some of the many activities that are planned and organized through the schools to help children learn how good habits contribute to good health. Parents and children are encouraged to brush their teeth for two minutes, two times per day, and read for 20 minutes as a way of building good oral health and literacy habits.
You can download some of the activity sheets so that you can work with you child and discuss by going to…