CHICAGO, Feb. 3, 2011 — February is National Children’s Dental Health Month,and theAmerican Dental Association (ADA) encourages children to practice good oral health habits.
The ADA’s themes for this year’s National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) are "A Healthy Smile? It’s Easy to Find! Remember to Brush & Floss Everyday!" and "A Healthy Smile Looks Good Up Close." The ADA offers free downloadable oral health informationfor parents and teachers to provide fun tools to promote the benefits of good oral health to children. The NCDHM program guide includes easy-to-do classroom activities and program planning timetable tips.
During NCDHM, it is particularly important to raise awareness of the plight of children from low income families, many of whom have difficulty eating, sleeping, paying attention in school and smiling due to rampant dental disease.
Give Kids A Smile Events Provide Free Dental Services
On Friday, Feb. 4, the ADA will hold Give Kids A Smile(GKAS) events mobilizing more than 45,000 dentists and dental member volunteers from across the nation to provide free dental services such as screenings, educational materials and, where possible, cleanings, X-rays and fillings to underserved children and adolescents. An estimated 400,000 children will receive services at 1,750 sites throughout the country during this year’s program.
"Give Kids A Smile events provide desperately needed oral health care to children in need, yet the ADA knows that a one-day event is not a cure for the epidemic of untreated dental disease," said ADA President Dr. Raymond Gist. "The ADA and state dental societies will continue to advocate for the policymakers at the federal and state level to allocate adequate funding to provide dental services to children in need through Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Programs."
Tooth decay affects more than 25 percent of U.S. children 2 to 5 years old and 50 percent of U.S. children 12 to 15 years old, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet most state Medicaid budgets allocate 2% or less for dental services, according to the ADA.
The ADA launched GKAS in 2003 to encourage parents, health professionals and policymakers to address this important health issue.
Give Kids A Smile is made possible by the volunteer efforts of dentists, dental team members and the generous support of corporate sponsors. In 2011, Henry Schein Dental provided professional dental supplies such as gloves, gauze, masks and patient bibs , while Colgate-Palmolive Co. donated toothbrushes and toothpaste for children at the events. DEXIS, LLC donated the use of their digital x-ray systems, along with the expertise of their staff, to U.S. dental schools that request assistance, state associations, and large group practices during the GKAS events.
The ADA urges parents to make sure their children brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, eat a balanced diet and see their dentist regularly to address tooth decay in its earliest stages.
Editors:Most Give Kids A Smile events require advanced registration, usually through schools and social service clubs and agencies. For more information, visit http://www.ada.org/givekidsasmile.aspx
About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation’s largest dental association, representing more than 156,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public’s health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA’s state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA’s flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit the Association’s Web site at www.ada.org