I still remember the first time my dentist told me I had a cavity. I felt equal parts of shame and fear—and I felt a strong resolve to make sure it never happened again!

Over the years I’ve stayed passionate about maintaining the health of my teeth, gums and mouth. Luckily, each spring brings timely reminders and helpful hints with the onset of Dental Health Month and National Pet Dental Health Month.

About Dental Health Month (for people)

February brings fresh opportunities to learn how to care for your teeth. The first National Children's Dental Health Month was held in 1950, and since then it’s been opened up as Dental Health Month for children, adults and families nationwide.

National Children's Dental Health Month is sponsored by the American Dental Association (ADA). This year's slogan for kids and teens is "Defeat Monster Mouth." This year's campaign goal is to help kids and teens learn how to brush, floss, rinse and choose healthy snacks to reduce plaque.

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 About National Pet Dental Health Month

February is also National Pet Dental Health Month, sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

The focus this year is on helping pet owners understand the importance of maintaining good oral health and hygiene for their pets, and how healthy treats and daily tooth brushing can help.

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Dental Health Month freebies

One lovely thing about awareness months is that they typically usher in a host of fun freebies!

So first things first—be sure to keep your eyes peeled for free dental screenings for people and pets in your local area. Also look for discounts on dental health services at local dental clinics and veterinarian offices.

You can also enjoy these freebies for both people and pets!

For people:

Don’t forget the coupons!

  • Crest coupons: Find coupons here. Crest also features coupons in the monthly Procter and Gamble inserts the last Sunday of each month.
  • Colgate coupons: Sign up for Colgate’s newsletter and you’ll receive exclusive member perks like coupons.
  • Pronamel coupons: These can be found on their website. Last time I visited their site I got a $1.00 coupon for Pronamel toothpaste and $0.50 for a Pronamel toothbrush.
  • Aquafresh coupons: You can find Aquafresh coupons here. I got a $0.50 coupon for Aquafresh training toothpaste, $0.75 coupon for Aquafresh Extreme Clean toothpaste and $1.00 coupon for Aquafresh Big Kids Toothpaste.

For pets:

  • AVMA President Dr. Jan Bellows offers a free podcast on dental health for pets.
  • Showcase your pet's pearly whites all month long: #pearlywhitepets (Twitter), AVMA Flickr group and AVMA Facebook page.
  • Dr. Sheldon Rubin demonstrates in a free video how to teach your dog or cat to accept a daily tooth brushing!
  • Dr. Cindy Charlier explains in a free video how to prevent your pet from developing periodontal disease (which can be life threatening!).