February Focus: Prevention!

The most common condition among children is largely preventable. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), dental caries/cavities are four times more common than childhood asthma and three times more likely than childhood obesity. For dental hygienists, NCDHM offers a great opening and opportunity to spread the word about how poor oral health and caries impact kids’ health and quality of life.

February Events & Content

Denise Messina & Bridget Wright

WEBINAR: Abuse, Neglect and Trafficking: Our Responsibility

RECORDED on February 21, 2024
1.5 CE • Free for ADHA Members

Presented by: Denise M. Messina, MDH, BS, RDH & Bridget M. Wright, MACPR, BSDH, EFDA

Understanding your role in supporting survivors of abuse and being equipped with resources to help and identify victims, can make a huge difference in the lives of your patients. View the recording of this important event to learn more about the physical, behavioral, and emotional indicators of child and elder abuse or neglect.

ADHA Podcast Episode 128

PODCAST: Oral Health Community Projects Making a Difference

Episode 128, Released February 20, 2024
Free for Everyone

Host: Matt Crespin, MPH, RDH, FADHA
Guests: Dr. Yvette Reibel, RDH, EdD, MSDH and Dr. Stacey Onofrietti, RDH, MS, PhD, CHP, FADHA

Listen in on the remarkable efforts of Drs. Onofrietti & Reibel, whose public health work improves the oral health of children. As recipients of the Mars Wrigley Foundation grant from the ADHA Institute for Oral Health, they share the impact of these funds on their initiatives, their passion for serving their communities, and recount highlights from their professional oral health journeys.


4-Minute Reads

Child in dental chair looking at handheld mirror

3 Effortless Behavior Guidance Strategies for Pediatric Dental Patients

RDH eVillage Article by An Chih (Angela) Do, MEd, RDH, MAADH, FADHA
February 7, 2024

Using these tips from a pediatric patient expert about what works for her young patients will make dental appointments with youngsters much more pleasant.

Painting on Fluoride

Caries Prevention and Managing Caries Risk for Our Youngest Patients

Hygienist Hub Article By Lisa Kamibayashi, RDH, MSDHE, FADHA
February 8, 2024 | Sponsored by Colgate®

A wide variety of fluoride options on the market can leave you wondering and comparing these preventive treatment – and they’re not all the same. Read on for guidance on selecting the right fluoride for your youngest patients.

Provider treating child in mother's lap

The Importance of Family Oral Health Education in Promoting Children’s Oral Health

Journal of Dental Hygiene editorial by Denise C. McKinney, PhD, MS, RDH and Melissa Sullivan, PhD(c), MD, RDH
February 12, 2024

Oral health practices we use to educate children and how oral health literacy, family structure, and community level are just some of the factors that affect and impact the promotion of positive oral health practices in children and families.

Father holding daughter's hand who has a toothache

3 Tips to Help Patients Who Lost Medicaid or CHIP Coverage

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
January 2023

As of February 1, 2023, states resumed Medicaid and CHIP eligibility reviews that they temporarily stopped during the pandemic. This raises the possibility for millions of people to lose their Medicaid or CHIP coverage. Here’s how to help.

In their State of Little Teeth Report, 2nd Edition, AAPD examined the epidemic of tooth decay among children. Read the report for helpful information and rich data, including:

  • Nearly one in five children under the age of 5 has experienced dental decay.State of Little Teeth, 2nd Edition, report cover
  • Nearly half of children aged 6–11 in the U.S. population are affected by tooth decay, along with more than half of those aged 12–19.
  • Children aged 2–9 living in poverty are twice as likely to suffer tooth decay as their more affluent peers.
  • Children in the U.S. miss over 34 million school hours each year due to dental problems.
  • After eight years of follow up, children who had their first dental visit before the age of four spent an average of $360 less on dental treatment than those who did not.


Bright Smiles, Bright Futures


Volunteer Opportunity!

Join ADHA, the IOH Foundation and Colgate’s BSBF program in a month-long volunteer drive to improve the oral health of under-served children. Find local opportunities to sign up, volunteer your experience, and support dental hygienists driving change, everywhere!

Learn More & Sign Up

Something to Smile About

Get the Parents’ Guide

To support your patient education, we created a quick-reference guide for download. Consider posting it on your practice website, email it as a follow up to appointments, or print and use it to support your conversations.


7 Ways You Can Share Oral Health Education Materials

Make Your Outreach Work

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed oral health education materials to help expectant mothers and parents of young children learn about developing positive oral health habits early. You too, can amplify the importance of oral health by displaying, sharing and distributing informational materials!

7 Ways You Can Share Oral Health Education Materials

Tooth decay is the most common preventable chronic disease among children in the United States.

If left untreated, it can negatively affect a child’s physical and social development, as well as their school performance.

In 2010, the CMS launched an Oral Health Initiative to help states ensure that children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP have easy access to dental and oral health services.