Kids, flash those pearly whites in February
When: February 1 – 28
What: The loss of that first baby tooth is often a triumphant occasion for a child. Brushing and flossing are habits that many children learn around the same time they practice tying their shoes, but they may not be aware that dental care starts long before that first tooth is placed under a pillow for the Tooth Fairy. In February, bring child dental health awareness to the forefront during National Children’s Dental Health Month.
Background: Sponsored by the American Dental Association (ADA), National Children’s Dental Health Month aims to build awareness of the importance of children’s oral health. During this month, the ADA also sponsors the Give Kids a Smile campaign, which provides dental care to underserved children across the United States and will be observed on Feb. 5.
Story Pitch: Dentists can promote their services for the younger crowd. Dental health companies can encourage use of their products, and communities can advocate for local clinics and health organizations. Meanwhile, schools can advocate for on-site dental care.
The Story Hook: According to the PEW Children’s Dental Campaign, dental care is the greatest unmet need in child health services. In fact, tooth decay is the most common disease in children and affects approximately 60 percent with underprivileged children showing the highest rates of dental disease. What is being done by health groups to bring dental care to all children? Consider the following when making your pitch:
- What methods are used to calm the nerves of children who may fear the dentist?
- How can diet affect oral health? Does the fight against obesity in schools change the ways that children fight tooth decay?
- Do new artificial or natural sweeteners have an impact on dental health in children?
- What should new parents know about the oral health in infants?
- What products are available to encourage kids to brush and floss regularly?
- What programs are available for low-income children?
Tips: When pitching a media outlet, provide contact information for a dental professional, school nurse, or family who has benefited from a children’s dental health program.
American Dental Association
Centers for Disease Control: Children’s Dental Health
Children’s Dental Health Project
National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
–Researched, compiled & written by Lisa Rowan
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