"Sugar Wars": Combatting cavities during Children's Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Dental health problems like childhood caries (cavities in the baby teeth) are the leading cause of chronic disease for young children. Experts recommend that children begin oral health care as early as age 1, or when their first teeth emerge.

In a 2011 NPCH Report, more than half of parents said their children under the age of 3 had not yet seen a dentist. Less than half of parents said their health care provider talked with them about taking their child to a dentist, and 1 in 10 parents said a health care provider noted a problem with their child’s teeth at age 1-2.

Figure 1. Percentage of children who have been to the dentist

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The American Dental Association’s 2016 National Children’s Dental Health Month campaign is called “Sugar Wars.” The ADA has free online resources to help educate children on the importance of good dental health. For more information, visit

What do you think?
At what age did your child have their first dental exam? How do you encourage good dental health with your children? Share your thoughts in the comments and on Facebook and Twitter @MottNPCH.