This Valentine’s weekend, nurture kids' lifelong relationship with good dental health
 You might recall life as a school-aged child and your relationship with candy. Even if your parents didn’t let you eat candy constantly – say, on a daily basis – you could always count on hitting pay dirt around the Halloween, the winter holidays and Valentine’s Day.
Children have had peak candy-scarfing opportunities from October to February. Given that string of sweets-laden months, February – as National Children’s Dental Health Month – arrives just in time. This Friday, as you read this, little, heart-shaped pieces of sugar stamped with cutesy messages have flooded classrooms everywhere, imbuing Maryland youths with enough frenzied energy to try their teachers’ and parents’ patience heading into the weekend.
The obvious challenge for parents – beyond not swiping pieces of their children’s candy or overloading on the random heart-shaped chocolates sampler – is to teach their children the benefits of choosing nutritious foods and of making candy and other sweets exceptions to a healthy diet, not the staples of an unhealthy one. [For more resources for this, be sure to check last year’s blog on using a Maryland tool to battle obesity and to improve diet.]  
It’s important that kids learn to floss and brush their teeth twice a day. They can pick up tons of tips at Healthy Teeth, Healthy Kids. Children can find an interactive page on our site with games and other links to dental health information. Download a resource guide to affordable dental services from our site, as well, if you need help locating a dental services provider.
It’s certainly important that children learn the benefits of keeping their teeth healthy at an early age. But, there are long-term benefits, as well. DHMH also has information related to good dental health can be good for your heart. Now, that’s welcome news on Valentine’s weekend.