February Is National Children's Dental Health Month
The American Dental Association observed Children's Dental Health Day for the first time on February 8, 1949. In 1955, this one-day event was extended to a week, and in 1981 to a month. Today, National Children's Dental Health Month is observed every February.
Developing good oral health habits at an early age and visiting the dentist regularly helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Use these resources to raise awareness about the importance of children's oral health in your community. Find ideas for classroom and family night activities.
Video: Share the love in February; It's National Children's Dental Health Month, in English and Spanish
Resources for Staff to Use or Share
- February Is National Children’s Dental Health Month Program Planning Guide offers resources to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers and teachers, and others. The guide includes activities, program planning tips, posters, and much more.
- Healthy Habits for Happy Smiles, a handout series for pregnant women and parents of infants and children, provides simple oral health tips. The handouts are also available in Spanish.
- Questions to Ask When Looking for a Dental Office provides a list of questions for parents to ask a dental office to find a dental office that is best for the parents and child.
- Share the Love in February. It's National Children's Dental Health Month, a slideshow, offers tips for child care and Head Start staff to help improve children's oral health.
- Steps for Toothbrushing at the Table: Growing Healthy Smiles in Early Child Care and Education Programs, a video for Head Start and child care staff, trains staff to begin a daily toothbrushing routine in Head Start and child care programs. Explore information about how children can brush their teeth as a group at the table.
Ideas for Classroom and Family Night Activities
- Door Decorating Contest. Choose a theme, a timeframe for the contest, and a panel of judges. Themes might include “Healthy Teeth Are Important,” “I Can Do a Lot to Keep My Teeth Healthy,” or “Many People Can Help Me Take Good Care of My Teeth.” Awards can include best overall, best attention to the theme, most creative, funniest door, best design, and most accurate information.
- Family Night for Children and Parents. Invite children and their parents to attend a family night dedicated to oral health. Serve healthy foods and drinks from Cook’s Corner: Recipes for Healthy Snacks. Invite a dentist or dental hygienist to speak to parents. Use family engagement activities from Cavity Free Kids or individual lesson plans from Oral Health for Maryland’s Kids: A Head Start Teachers Guide for Creating Healthy Smiles to educate families about good oral health practices.
- Toothbrushing at the Table. Use the video Steps for Toothbrushing at the Table: Growing Healthy Smiles in Early Child Care and Education to start a daily toothbrushing routine in the classroom.