Making Sure Your Kids Are Ready for School?
Make Sure Their Teeth Are Part of It!
As another summer vacation draws to a close, parents everywhere are tackling to-do lists in preparation for sending their children off to a new school year. But in the process of getting kids back-to-school ready, from buying new clothes and school supplies to routine physical exams, don’t forget about your children’s teeth! Regular dental visits are important year-round, but a back-to-school checkup is key in fighting the most common chronic disease found in school-age children: cavities.
Early Detection of Problems
There is evidence that good dental health is closely linked to academic success, and back-to-school checkups can help identify potential dental problems before they have a chance to take a toll on children’s success in the classroom. Dental disease causes children to miss more than 51 million school hours each year. Prevention and early detection can help avoid pain, trouble eating, difficulty speaking, and school absences.
During your child’s back-to-school dental visit, a dental team will clean your child’s teeth, check for cavities, and make sure your child is keeping up with good brushing and flossing habits. The appointment likely won’t take more than an hour, but its positive effect on your child’s dental health is sure to be long-lasting.
Tips for a Healthy Smile
Caring for your child’s teeth goes beyond scheduling regular dental check-ups. Here are a few ways caretakers can help children maintain healthy teeth throughout the school year:
- Monitor sugar intake. Most kids love sweets, but sugar-packed snacks and drinks can wreak havoc on their teeth. Dentists recommend moderating their intake of sugary foods during and after school hours.
- Practice the 3-2-1 rule. Practice the 3-2-1 rule at home: eat three (3) healthy meals, brush two (2) times (morning and night), and floss at least one (1) time every day.
Protecting a Healthy Smile
Besides a dental checkup, it may be time for a new toothbrush. The American Dental Association recommends replacing toothbrushes every three to four months, or sooner if bristles are worn. A worn toothbrush can’t do a thorough job of cleaning teeth. Look for products that display the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance and select a child-sized toothbrush for ease of use.
Many injuries that occur on the playground can be prevented or minimized if wearing a mouthguard. A mouthguard can be purchased at a sporting goods store or can be custom made by your dentist to fit your child’s mouth. Accidents can happen whether your child is in sports camp, gym class, or just walking down the street. In case of emergency, make sure your child’s teachers and coaches have all the medical contact information they need – including your dentist’s number.