February is Children’s Dental Health Month and a chance to renew your commitment to your community
51 million. That’s how many school hours children miss each year because of dental health problems. The National Education Association estimates that, in addition to the missed hours, students who are absent due to oral pain are four times more likely to have lower grades. Children’s Dental Health Month is one weapon in the fight against these sad statistics.
February is Children’s Dental Health Month, and it’s not only an excellent opportunity to reach out to your community, but it is a great way to renew your commitment to service as a dental office.
Here are seven ways for your practice to be part of Children’s Dental Health Month, with benefits for you and your community that could be valuable throughout the year.
7 ways to share children’s dental health month with your community
Knowledge is the first step in fixing a problem, and missing millions of hours of school is truly a problem. Contact a local school to see if you can give a short presentation during a PTO meeting to parents.
Be the expert
As a dentist, you are already an expert on the importance of dental hygiene. During Children’s Dental Health Month, your local news station will likely be looking for an expert. Get in touch ahead of time, offering your insight and experience for an interview or opinion piece.
The American Dental Association has colorful posters you can download. They also have calendars, games, and certificates you can print and hand out to kids or patients with kids. A little fun goes a long way in getting kids involved in their dental health.
A 2009 study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that over 19 million children did not have dental health insurance. A study in The Journal of the American Dental Association, published in 2007, reports that children with dental insurance are four times more likely to receive dental care as compared to those without dental insurance. Donating even a small portion of your time and expertise to those in need can go a long way toward improving these numbers.
Is your dental practice on social media? Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all great places to engage your community even when you can’t talk to them in person. If you aren’t sure what to share, stick with interesting facts about childhood oral development, the relationship between oral health and general health, or even the importance of brushing regularly. Some of the information might seem like common knowledge, but bear in mind that most people don’t know as much about dental health as you do.
Is there a college or trade school near you that has a health or dental hygiene program? Contact the department chair or one of the professors directly to see if you can present to a class. As part of overall health care, dentistry and oral health could easily fit into classes from biology to pre-med. Even physical anthropology is an option if you want to discuss the finer details of physical development and facial structure in relation to dental condition.
Get into giving
Get your patients involved in collecting dental care products for a local nonprofit. Offer a selection of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss at the front desk that patients can buy and place in a collection box in the waiting room. This might involve a small upfront investment on your part, but it’s easy enough to start small and buy more as needed. And if you aren’t sure where to donate, contact a local school – they can probably point you in a good direction.
Children’s Dental Health Month is a one way to help your community, but it’s also good for your business. A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine states that philanthropy is good for employee satisfaction, which is a big deal when you run a small business. Whatever you decide to do, be sure to block some time in your schedule for community service this month, and every month.
These seven ideas are just a start. What does your dental office do to engage your community for Children’s Dental Health Month? Share in the comments and let’s help each other reach more people.