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February: National Children’s Dental Health Month

  • Published
  • By Capt. Robert Wetzel
  • 6th Dental Squadron

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.

It is a special month-long observance that brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, healthcare providers and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers and many others.

This year’s slogan is: “Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth for a healthy smile.”

Brushing twice for two minutes each day and flossing once a day are the best habits for keeping a healthy set of teeth, but are families prepared to handle a dental emergency? What if a child has a toothache in the middle of the night? Or what if a child brakes a tooth or has a tooth knocked out while playing? The following are a few helpful children’s dental health tips from the American Dental Association.

In case of a toothache, rinse the mouth with water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or a toothpick to remove any food or other debris that may be caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because this could burn gum tissue. If the toothache persists, see the dentist. Don’t rely on painkillers. They may temporarily relieve pain, but a dentist should evaluate the condition.

In case of a tooth that is knocked out, try to find the tooth if it is an adult/permanent tooth. Avoid touching the root surface itself. If the tooth is dirty, quickly and gently rinse it in water. Do not use soap or any other cleaning agent and never scrape or brush the tooth. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket or between the gum and cheek while heading over to the dentist. If that’s not possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and bring it to the dentist. Time is critical for successful reimplantation, so try to get to your dentist immediately.  If it is a baby tooth, just let it go. Baby teeth should never be reinserted into the tooth socket.

In case of a broken tooth, rinse the mouth with water to clean the area. Use cold compresses on the outside of the cheek to help reduce the swelling.

For more information, contact a dentist. If a child has not had a dental examination, schedule a checkup for his or her teeth. Visit for answers to dental questions, finding a dentist, and fun activities during Children’s Dental Health Month.