Teaching kids healthy dental habits during National Children’s Dental Health Month

When it comes to kids, the CDC reports that more than half of children from ages six to eight have had a cavity in at least one of their baby teeth.
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 8:58 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and Cape Fear Community College dental hygienist students are going to 22 New Hanover County elementary schools throughout the month to teach kindergarten through second graders that oral health is an important piece of your overall health.

The theme for this year’s campaign is “Brush, Floss, Smile.” The first national observance was held by the American Dental Association in 1949.

Oral diseases, such as cavities and gum disease, can often be painful. When it comes to kids, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than half of children from ages six to eight have had a cavity in at least one of their baby teeth.

“Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning,” stated the CDC on their website. “Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.”

CFCC visited Forest Hills Elementary School last week and explained to kids the importance of taking care of their teeth.

“Little kids often get overlooked by their teeth because everyone thinks they just get replaced with their adult teeth, and they don’t matter. They’re actually really important for the rest of their life. So, learning how to take care of them when they’re young is so important,” said Brinkley Elliott, CFCC dental hygienist student.

CFCC students hope that these kids will tell their parents what they learned and keep their teeth healthy. Elliott went over what they teach the students at these events.

“We’re going over brushing, what kind of foods are good for your teeth, and what kind of foods are bad for your teeth, and how cavities are formed, how many times a day we brush, how long we brush, and just that their parents can help them too. Because when they’re little, they’re probably not going to be the best at it.”

In Brunswick and New Hanover counties, there is a children’s mobile dental unit that provides screenings and other services for kids ages 3 to 18 years old. It’s conveniently found at 20 local elementary schools throughout the year.

According to the New Hanover County website, eligibility requirements to receive services from the mobile dental unit include:

  • “Children 3 to 18 years of age
  • Children with Medicaid or NC Health Choice Insurance
  • Children with no dental insurance (sliding fee scale, based on income).”

More information about the mobile unit can be found here.