The American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) announced today that for National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM) 2006 the celebration will focus on early childhood caries (ECC). The first topic of the four-year theme, "A Healthy Smile Lasts a Lifetime," will closely examine various oral afflictions of specific age groups throughout an individual's lifespan. ECC was selected in part because of the lasting effect it can have on a child's mouth.
Dental decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood, affecting 50 percent of children by middle childhood and nearly 70 percent by late adolescence. Luckily, ECC is easily prevented by instilling a proper oral hygiene routine at an early age. By emphasizing good oral health habits as early as infancy, parents can help lay the foundation for a lifelong, effective oral health routine.
"Preventing early childhood caries is essential to the health of a child's mouth and body," said ADHA President Marge L. Green, CDA, RDH, MS. "Dental hygienists are the frontline of defense against oral disease, and play an essential role in the prevention of early childhood caries, as well as the education of both parents and children on the importance of proper oral health habits."
The ADHA is encouraging dental hygienists across the country to get involved in NDHM this October to increase public awareness of proper oral health habits for children, especially the prevention of early childhood caries.
For fact sheets about this topic and other oral health issues, visit www.adha.org.
ADHA is the largest national organization representing the professional interests of more than 120,000 dental hygienists across the country. Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed in dental hygiene, who provide educational, clinical, and therapeutic services that support total health through the promotion of optimal oral health. For more information about ADHA, dental hygiene, or the link between oral health and general health, visit ADHA at www.adha.org.