Back-to-school season is here. As summer draws to a close, make sure your child is ready to kick off the school year with a confident, healthy smile. New clothes and shoes? Check. Notebooks and pencils? Check. Backpack? Check. While stocking up on back-to-school clothing and supplies, don’t forget to include a dental exam on your checklist.
During a routine dental checkup, dentists examine the state of your child’s mouth, gums and teeth. Your dental care team also will provide customized tips to add to your child’s home routine. In addition to routine cleanings and exams, good home oral health care is essential. This includes brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing every day and eating a well-balanced diet.
Make toothbrushing a fun family activity. Play your child’s favorite song, and let them select themed toothbrushes; or, use a sticker calendar to mark their brushing and flossing achievements.
Oral health also can impact children’s academic achievement. Skipping dental visits could spell trouble for your child’s overall health and well-being. Oral health risks include trouble eating, speaking, concentrating in class and even missed school days. Prevent emergencies, and other serious oral issues, by booking regular appointments with your dental provider. Your child’s dentist will identify any issues and recommend treatment.
While you are at the dental office with your kids, be sure to ask the dentist or dental hygienist for preventative care, such as fluoride treatments and sealants to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride helps protect those pearly whites against cavities, and sealants seal the groves in the teeth to block bacteria from creating cavities. If you have questions about what products are best for your child’s smile, ask your child’s dental care team to recommend the best oral hygiene tools for their needs.
Don’t let your child lose focus in school. Early prevention and detection of dental problems will help your child stay healthy throughout the school year. It is important to swap out lunchbox sweets such as chips and crackers, candies and granola bars for healthy alternatives. Try celery sticks, carrots and cubes of cheese instead.
While you are squeezing in every last minute of summer fun, remember to schedule your child’s end-of-summer checkup with your favorite dentist. Enjoy soaking up the final days of summer break!
By Dr. Scott Merritt