Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Children's Dental Health Month

Each year, American Dental Association chooses a new theme for Children's Dental Health Month to spotlight preventative measures for oral health. This year's campaign slogan, “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile” promotes drinking water over less healthy options like sports drinks, soda, juices, and other sugar-laden beverages. The added bonus of fluoridation in most public water sources adds to the benefit for oral health, but the message of making tap water your beverage of choice stays the same even if your water comes from a well. If you have questions on how fluoride impacts oral health, Dr. Scholl would be happy to review your child's individual preventative treatment plan at their next visit.
The celebration of children's dental health has grown since the first, single day observance on February 3, 1941, to be the month-long American Dental Association event we know today, and what we know about children's dental health has grown right along with it. Coastal Maine Pediatric Dentistry is committed to helping our patients achieve and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile by providing the most up to date clinical information, and we extend that commitment to our community especially during our Children's Dental Health Month.
This year, we will be visiting 15 day cares and preschools, 3 elementary schools, and 3 public libraries reaching nearly 600 children with our message of healthy food choices and dental hygiene. With the valuable input from our participating caregivers, we have cultivated our program to empower our child audience to take charge of their oral health. Dr. Scholl understands that there is no perfect world without sugar and that chocolate cake will eventually cross your child's lips, so we use a successful combination of an informative story and an interactive critical thinking exercise of choosing between which foods are best for our teeth. Some choices are easy- carrots are obviously healthier than chocolate bars, but we also introduce variations in foods like grapes vs raisins and cheese vs cheeseballs. It's a silly way to encourage thinking about the foods they choose as well as the effect it has on their oral health. We top the experience off with giving everyone a turn to brush our flossosaurus, Elvis's teeth with his giant toothbrush before getting their very own toothbrush to take home. A child's food options are not always in their control, so the message we hope resonates is the importance of daily dental care and the importance of building a positive relationship with dental health.
Children's Dental Health Month is also an opportunity to connect with and support our fellow members of Merrymeeting Bay Dental Society in an effort to make sure every first grade student in our area has the opportunity to see a dental professional. This is our fourth year organizing this program on behalf of MMBDS, with the height of participating schools at 16 and over 3,000 students served in that time. We provide first grade classrooms with a classroom presentation, home health supplies, dental health posters for their school, and optional dental exams, all free of charge from area professionals. It's quite a feat of coordination, but so important to extend our professional service beyond our individual patient lists for the betterment of the community.
To incorporate American Dental Association's Children's Dental Health Month in your child's day, visit ada.org for more program information and printable activity pages, and if your child is suddenly giddy about their gums and proudly yells, “BRUSH YOUR TEETH!” after they have a snack, you'll know they had a date with Elvis in February. If your preschool or daycare would like a complimentary visit from our office to encourage dental health throughout the year, please contact our office and we will be happy to add you to our calendar!

Tessa Kingsley
Professional Relations Coordinator

84 Baribeau Drive
Brunswick, ME 04011