So you’ve got your kids’ book bags all stocked with school supplies, their closets and dressers are full of new clothes, and their lunch boxes are ready to be filled with carefully planned items from your pantry and fridge. But is your child’s mouth also ready for the new school year?
One CDC statistic says that tooth decay is more prevalent among American school children than any other infectious disease, and another statistic cites that 19% of children ages 2 to 19 have active tooth decay- cavities that have not yet been treated. Dental pain and disease is responsible for millions of hours of missed school each year can lead to difficulty speaking and communicating, can adversely impact learning, as well as eating and playing.
Here are some tips to make sure your child’s oral health is kept in ideal shape to help them have a great school year:
- Maintain regular dental appointments. Routine exams can diagnose and treat or prevent dental problems. Dental problems do not always manifest signs and symptom that parents can recognize, so regular checkups are important. Make sure your child gets regular cleanings and include cavity-detecting x-rays at the recommended frequency.
- Get regular fluoride treatments. Fluoride helps strengthen enamel and make it more resistant to decay.
- Get sealants on permanent teeth once they are in. Sealants help to prevent decay, which can save your child dental pain and missed school days.
- Regular brushing and flossing. Stock your bathroom cabinet with plenty of toothpaste, floss or floss picks, and extra toothbrushes. Get fluoride toothpaste and soft-bristled brushes. Change toothbrushes regularly, about every 3 months. Make sure your child brushes morning and night for 2 minutes each time and flosses once daily.
- Be mindful of what is in their lunchboxes. Pack healthy lunches and snacks, include items like milk, cheese, raw vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, and fruit. Limit things that stick to the teeth like fruit snacks, fruit roll-ups, chewy candies, raisins and other dried fruits. If your child eats a lunch prepared by the school cafeteria, educate him or her about healthy options. Try to reduce sugary foods, sweets, sports drinks, and soft drinks.
- Wear a sports mouth guard. Make sure your child wears a properly fitted sports mouth guard while participating in sports games and practices, PE classes, or even recess on the playground!
We hope these tips are helpful to you when keeping your child’s smile bright. Give our office a call if your child is due for a routine cleaning or to schedule one in advance for later in the school year, and maintain a great home hygiene routine. Mall of Georgia Dentistry wishes you an awesome school year… and, as always, brush, floss, smile!