The importance of National Children's Dental Health month

March 2, 2024
A framed promotional graphic for 'Children's Dental Health' Month featuring four children sitting on a bench, gazing at a modern dental clinic with an elegant 'Smile Bright' neon sign on the wall. The frame is decorated with a playful, geometric pattern featuring toothbrushes and teeth. The image is set against an autumnal background with trees and a vibrant field of orange flowers, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

February is not just about heart-shaped candies and valentines; it's also National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM). This observance promotes the importance of oral health in children, with dental professionals, healthcare providers, and educators uniting to spread the word about pediatric dental wellness. This year, let's dive into what NCDHM truly signifies, explore the concept of a "dental home," and look at the cavity rates among children in the United States to understand why this month is so crucial.

The essence of National Children's Dental Health month

National Children's Dental Health Month is a health observance that brings attention to the importance of oral health in children. The American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors this event, offering guidance and resources to help children achieve and maintain optimal oral health. The goal is to educate parents and caregivers about the critical role dental health plays in overall well-being from an early age.

Why having a dental home is important

A "dental home" refers to the ongoing relationship between the dentist and the patient, inclusive of all aspects of oral health care delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated, and family-centered way. Establishing a dental home for your child can have numerous benefits:

  • Preventive Care: Regular visits allow for the early detection and prevention of dental issues.
  • Familiarity and Comfort: Over time, children become more comfortable with their dental care provider, reducing anxiety and fear associated with dental visits.
  • Comprehensive Care: A dental home provides not just treatment but also education on proper oral hygiene practices, tailored to each child’s needs.
  • Emergency Care: Having a dental home means having a go-to professional in case of dental emergencies.

Cavity rates among children in the United States

Despite advancements in dental care and increased awareness, cavities (also known as dental caries) remain a prevalent issue among children in the United States. Here's a breakdown of cavity rates among children from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, divided into age groups, based on recent statistics:

  • Ages 2-5: Approximately 23% of children in this age group have at least one untreated cavity, marking a critical period where early habits are set.
  • Ages 6-11: 52% of children ages 6 to 8 years have had dental caries in their primary teeth. 17% of children ages 6 to 11 years have had dental caries in their permanent teeth.
  • Ages 12-19: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention notes that teenagers have higher rates, with approximately 57% having had cavities in their permanent teeth. This age group shows a significant increase, likely due to diet, poor oral hygiene habits, and lack of regular dental visits.

These statistics highlight the importance of early and continuous dental care. Cavities are largely preventable through routine dental check-ups, proper brushing and flossing, and limiting sugary foods and drinks.

A collage of four images celebrating National Children's Dental Health Month. The top left photo shows a dentist in a white coat demonstrating dental tools to a group of attentive children. The top right photo features a dentist in a lab coat holding a large toothbrush, teaching a child how to brush properly. The bottom left image displays children seated on the floor, looking up at a dentist who is showing them a dental model. The bottom right image is a creative display of colorful toothbrushes arranged on a wall to resemble flowers. In the center, bold text states 'National Children's Dental Health Month' with a tooth icon beneath it.
Dr.Andrea and Poppy Kids Team at Good Shepherd Lutheran School


As February has come to an end, National Children's Dental Health Month serves as a reminder of the importance of oral health in children's overall development and well-being. Dr. Andrea and the Poppy Team had the incredible opportunity to celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month with Novato’s very own, Good Shepherd Lutheran School. Establishing a dental home early on can play a pivotal role in preventing dental problems and ensuring a lifetime of healthy smiles. At Poppy Kids Pediatric Dentistry, we aim to help parents establish their dental home with us from an early age by offering a complimentary first visit under age three. Let's continue the momentum from month to recommit to our children's dental health and ensure they have the foundation they need for a healthy future.

Dr. Andrea and the Poppy Team are here for you and your family, ready to support you on your journey to lifelong dental success. Together, we can make dentistry fun and engaging, fostering healthy habits that last a lifetime. Remember, good oral health habits formed in childhood can lead to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. So, let's all take a step forward in prioritizing our children's dental health and ensuring they grow up with bright, healthy smiles.


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