February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. On February 1, as part of [removed]ADA[/removed]’s sixth annual Give Kids a Smile program, more than 51,000 dental professionals will provide free dental services to more than 500,000 children from low-income families at more than 2,000 sites nationwide. A national event will also be held on February 1 at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine in Aurora, Colo.

"Dental care remains a critical unmet health care need among America’s children," said Mark J. Feldman, DMD, president of the ADA. "The ADA and dentists across the nation are engaged in creating public awareness of this critical need and trying to extend access to dental care to more low-income children. To this end, we are celebrating February 1 with our sixth annual Give Kids A Smile program, to help put children on the road to a lifetime of good oral health."

The ADA launched its national Give Kids a Smile program to combat what the US Surgeon General called "a silent epidemic" of dental disease and to encourage parents, health professionals, and policymakers to address this important health issue.

The ADA recommends that children see a dentist no later than their first birthdays. However, studies reveal that only three out of five children have done so by the time they enter kindergarten. Because of inattention and other barriers to oral care, more than half of children ages 6 to 8 have tooth decay, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.