7 Fun Ideas to Get Patients Involved with Children’s Dental Health Month
It seems we could all use something to cheer about these days and since February is Children’s Dental Health Month, it’s the perfect excuse to have some fun in your office and celebrate our youngest patients.
As a matter of fact, The American Dental Association (ADA) first started with a day of recognizing children on February 8, 1949, called Children’s Dental Health Day.
Luckily for us, we can partake in a longer, more meaningful celebration and emphasis on the importance of children’s care now that since 1981, they expanded the festivities … Opens in a new window to the Colgate website… from a day to a whole month.
Each year the ADA selects a campaign and provides resources to dentists and healthcare workers. By the way, the 2022 slogan is “Sealants Make Sense”.
Because parents have enough stress dealing with so many issues related to COVID and their children’s educational and emotional lives, sadly, dental health may be on the back burner for many.
This is our opportunity to reach out to parents in a fun and creative way to put some emphasis on dental health, so here are some tips and ideas that dental office managers can use for their patients or community outreach.
Celebrating Children’s Dental Health Month within your dental practice
Idea 1: Decorations
Spice up your reception area by decorating for Children’s Dental Health Month. Our office has kept it simple with a handmade sign decorating the whole lobby in superhero décor. It is fun to watch the children’s faces as they walk in and see our lobby transformed.
Idea 2: Prizes
We put together a goodie bag for each child that we see during the month of February. It has the usual toothbrush and children’s flossers, but we also try to add something fun like sunglasses or a small toy. It’s a great time to add an educational brochure or material for parents/guardians.
Idea 3: Balloon blast
My favorite thing that we have implemented in our office is making balloon animals.
I got the idea from my childhood dentist’s office that had an assistant who would use the air/water syringe to blow up the balloons and make a favorite animal request while children waited for anesthesia.
Now working in an office in a dental management position, I realize what a genius idea this is and kids absolutely love balloons. Our team ordered a book from Amazon and each of us learned how to make different animals. It’s budget-friendly and a big hit with our patients.
Idea 4: Office Drawing
Another way you could incorporate a prize is by having a drawing for a children’s Sonicare toothbrush, a bike, or the latest electronic gadget.
This could be a way to increase the number of hygiene patients you see in the month of February. An additional way to create interest is a sponsored coloring contest as we did one year and offered prizes to the top three artists in each age category. The coloring pages decorated our reception area windows.
Idea 5: Social Media
Each week I try to come up with new ideas to post to our social media accounts, and Children’s Dental Health Month gives you a theme for the whole month of February. One really fun idea is to set up a photo booth and ask patients to share pictures to your office’s Facebook page.
Of course, parents need to sign a media consent for posting but capturing a great pic of children smiling with their balloon animals and your doctor or hygienist is wonderful media. Another idea is to … Opens in a new window to the NIDCR website… post facts about dental care to educate your patients. Engage your team because I know you can have a lot of fun with this.
Celebrating Children’s Dental Health Month with your community:
Idea 6: Schools/Daycares
Contact your local schools or daycares to see if they would allow your hygienist or several members of your team to come speak to students about dental hygiene education or vaping/smoking trends.
Even if COVID precautions prevent you from doing this in person, you may be able to set up Zoom video conferencing to share with groups. Even putting together packets of information or donating toothbrushes to several classrooms allows you to give back to your community. Our hygienist tries to give a presentation every year.
She has gone to the elementary schools, Headstart programs, after-school programs and high school health classes. You will know what is best for your particular area and demographics.
Idea 7: Give Kids A Smile Day
The first Friday in February has been designated by the ADA as Give Kids A Smile Day. The ADA can help connect you … Opens in a new window to the ADA website… to local events that may be happening in your area. Your team may consider offering a free program to underserved children or volunteering at one already scheduled. Since the theme is around sealants this year, maybe host a sealant event at your office.
In the past, our office has participated in Give Kids A Smile Day. We offered free dental cleanings to children 13 years or younger that were not covered by dental insurance or the Medicaid program. It was very rewarding to be a part of this event.
Whatever you decide to do – big or small – it is always rewarding to share dentistry with others! February should inspire us all to send the love of what we do out to our youngest patients and reinvigorate our practices at the same time in the importance of our work and the lifelong impacts we can make on so many lives.
Meet the Author
Cara Hull, MAADOM and her husband, Dr. Joseph Hull, own a general dental practice in Gregory, SD. She is a lifetime member of the American Association of Dental Office Management, (AADOM). Cara is also a member of AADOM’s Dental Spouse Business Network. She earned her Fellowship (FAADOM) in 2012, and most recently in 2021 she earned her AADOM Mastership, (MAADOM) designation.