Your child may have the latest wardrobe, school supplies, and sports equipment for the new school year; but does she have a healthy mouth and the tools she’ll need to maintain it?
According to the American Dental Association, a dental examination is as important as immunizations and booster shots and should be a regular part of back-to-school preparations. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that tooth decay affects U.S. children more than any other chronic infectious disease and 19% of children ages 2 to 19 years old have untreated tooth decay. Dental pain or disease can lead to difficulty in eating, speaking, playing and learning as well as millions of hours of missed school.
As kids and teens head back to fill the halls and classrooms (and football fields and lunchrooms…) of educational institutions, here are a few dental-related ideas to help make sure they get the most out of their learning experience:
- Regular dental examinations to diagnose and treat or prevent dental problems. Making sure to maintain a 6-month routine check ups is important for helping to keep teeth in ideal shape and nip any problems in the bud before they turn into bigger issues. Untreated decay can turn into pain that can result in poor school performance and unplanned absences. Toothaches and dental emergencies are responsible for an estimated 2.26 million missed school days each year.
- Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing. Head for the dental care aisle when you’re out shopping for notebooks, binders and pencils. If it’s hard to remember when to change a toothbrush, you could try to change it every time report cards come out. Ask your dentist for a recommendation on how often to change toothbrushes.
- Eating healthy lunches and snacks. Include portable healthy lunch items and snacks in your child’s sack lunch and avoid sticky or sugary foods and carbs that stick to the teeth like fruit snacks, dried fruits, saltine crackers, and pretzels! Better options are low-acid fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and cheeses. If your child eats in the school cafeteria, review healthy, balanced food choices with him before the first day of school.
- Wearing a properly fitted mouth guard while participating in organized sports or PE classes. Some of the most common sports injuries are dental injuries. Make sure to equip your child with a properly fitted mouth guard, since many types of fitness activities can cause falls and facial injuries.
From all of us here at McGann Facial Design…we hope you have a GREAT school year!