February Is Coming and so Is the National Children’s Dental Health Month
The dentist near you would already be talking about the National children’s dental health month campaign which is scheduled to be held in February under the auspices of the American Dental Association. He or she would be proud to be participating in the campaign just as many other dental professionals from throughout the country are doing. You may also be offered posters and flyers of the campaign telling you how your children can get fluoride from the tap as a message that the ADA is trying to promote.
The ADA has not changed the slogan of the campaign from last year when it mentioned that children should be brushing and also cleaning in between their teeth to build a healthy smile. The ADA has maintained that the habits and attitudes established at an early age can help children to maintain good oral health as well as overall health throughout their life. Just like in 2019 the ADA again is offering resources to promote the benefits of good oral health among children by providing free promotional materials in English and Spanish that can be ordered or downloaded from their website. Access to additional activity sheets has also been provided by the ADA from the earlier years.
What Is so Special about February and NCDHM?
Teaching children the benefits of maintaining good oral health is a task that is undertaken by dentistry for children throughout the year. Pediatric dentists are regularly reminding parents to bring their children for six-monthly checkups and exams and to undergo dental cleanings, apply dental sealants, provide fluoride treatments and most importantly educate children on the importance of brushing and flossing properly. However, for the past few years, the ADA has been waking up in February with its initiative called NCDHM. The ADA must be commended for its initiative to promote the dental health of children every year in February. However, can the ADA also be questioned why they are intent on promoting the availability of fluoride in the water that is known to everyone? Isn’t the ADA aware that the pediatric dentist in loves park, IL, is also suggesting and providing fluoride treatments to children to promote healthy tooth enamel and to fight the bacteria that harm the teeth and gums? Even dental insurance companies are aware of the benefits of fluoride among children and cover the cost of the treatment at the dentists for children. Therefore does the ADA need to rethink its campaign on children’s dental health and include other problems like tooth decay or dental caries that are the initial stages of developing a cavity?
Should the ADA Concentrate on Dealing with the Problem or the Cause?
Children only begin to develop cavities when they don’t maintain proper oral hygiene, have a poor diet and let their enamel be weakened by bacteria. Would it make a difference if NCDHM spoke more about the causes that lead to the formation of cavities rather than concentrate on the disease itself? Numerous questions may be raised about the intent of the ADA to hold this particular campaign every February for the benefit of children. However, can this August body provide any data about whether any improvements have been seen in children from March to January? After the month-long initiative is over the responsibility of safeguarding the children’s teeth rests on the shoulders of the many dental professionals that are also participating in this campaign by proudly stating that trace amounts of fluoride available in drinking water can keep children away from the problem of developing cavities.
The slogan for the campaign asking children to brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile may well be a statement from the ADA that they have already taken care of the cause of the problem and are therefore concentrating on the eventual disease which is the cavity. Everyone should be wishing the participants of this campaign including the dentist in Rockford, IL, all success along with the ADA but it must be stated that the problem of cavities is unlikely to diminish among children unless more attention is paid to the problem of tooth decay which is the leading cause of cavities in both children and adults. Therefore the NCDHM should provide some attention to the causes rather than just the disease.