Back-to-School Dental Checkups: Time for a Quick Check-up at Your Local Children’s Dentist
And 3 back-to-school dental health tips to maintain good oral hygiene
The new school year has begun, but while you rush to handle the new schedule and homework, do not neglect your child’s oral health. Taking a little time for a back-to-school dental checkups are just as important and could prevent any unnecessary absences this year.
Along with regular dental checkups for child there are a few other things you can do to help maintain their oral health during the school year. Remember: baby teeth may fall out, but baby teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth, as well as help with speech development.
5 Reasons to Have Your Child’s Teeth Checked Regularly
Regular dental care for children is extremely important. Even if your child brushes and flosses twice a day as recommended, this is no substitute for checkups by a dental professional.
The reason for this is that while brushing and flossing every day is necessary for good oral health, it can’t quite clean teeth the same way a dentist can. The right balance of regular visits plus a good at-home oral hygiene routine is a recipe for giving your child good long-term oral health.
Five important reasons to make sure you schedule a back-to-school checkup for your child:
- Avoid Missing School – School-age children miss hours of school each year because of dental problems. Any time off from school takes away from your child’s education and can even lead to them falling behind, especially if they end up frequently taking several days off because of dental problems.
- Young Children Do Not Always See the Dentist – School-age children also do not tend to see the dentist as regularly as they should. Do not wait for your child to exhibit dental problems. By starting your child off early with a routine for dental care, you can set them up for long-term dental health. Your child should be visiting the dentist at least once a year, sometimes twice depending on what their dentist recommends.
- Tooth Decay is Common – Unfortunately, tooth decay is a very common issue among school-age children. Your dentist can provide a dental sealant to lessen decay, but this does not take the place of regular brushing, flossing and dental checkups. A sealant is not a solution, but a way to help your child keep their teeth healthy.
- Your Child May Have Untreated Cavities – Sometimes children are unaware that the discomfort they feel in their mouths are actually cavities. Treating and detecting cavities early can prevent lost school hours and limit the extensiveness of the treatment required.
- Your Insurance Should Cover It – If you have dental insurance, your child’s annual or bi-annual dental visit should be covered, making it affordable to provide your child with proper dental care.
Regular dental checkups are important to your child’s overall health, well-being and even their academic performance. By scheduling a back-to-school visit each year, you can ensure your child’s oral health is on track for the next year and hopefully limit how many hours they will miss due to dental problems.
Regular dental visits at an early age also allows your dentist to keep an eye on your child’s bite and jaw development. If any issues are detected they may be able to refer you an orthodontist who does early intervention orthodontics. This is a series of treatments which can—in some cases—prevent your child from needing braces.
Three other things you can do to help improve your child’s oral health during the school year
Mornings during the school year are busy: small children off to school and parents off to work can make for a rushed morning routine. Ensuring your children have the time to brush their teeth before school is important, not only for their oral health today, but also to get them into a routine of daily brushing after breakfast.
Three ways to help improve your child’s oral health during the school year:
- At-home oral hygiene
Encouraging children to brush their teeth can sometimes feel like a choir. And we all know lecturing children often produces the opposite effect we intended. Instead of a lecture on the importance of oral health, you can:
Brush your teeth with them. If they see you brushing your teeth as well, then they won’t feel like it’s just because they’re a kid that they have to brush their teeth.
Another option is to buy a toothbrush (with soft bristles) that has their favorite cartoon character on it.
Also, why not play a game? See if they can brush their teeth for the length of their favorite song? If this keeps them brushing for two minutes, and you are able to supervise how they brush their teeth, they’re well on their way to improved oral health.
- Purchase a custom-made mouth guard
During your child’s first dental visit of the year, talk with your dentist about a custom-made mouth guard. For children who play sport this is ideal for protecting their teeth, gums and bite. And there are studies—in their early stages—which are showing that those who wear mouth guards actually don’t suffer concussions quite as badly as those who don’t wear mouth guards.
The thinking behind this is that wearing a mouth guard stops your teeth and jaws from rattling around. It’s also possible that the mouth guard may absorb some of the shock, and so minimize the effects.
A mouth guard from a dentist instead of a drug store
An over-the-counter mouth guard is probably cheaper than a dentist, but it’s a one-size-fits all mouth guard. Which means it can’t provide the same support as a custom-made one.
When you buy your child’s mouth guard from their dentist you are getting a mouth guard that is tailored to your child’s teeth and jaws. You also can bring the mouth guard to their next appointment so your child’s dentist can assess it and make sure it’s still providing the necessary support.
- How your children can brush their teeth at school
No, we’re not suggesting they take a toothbrush and toothpaste to school. That seems impractical—although, from an oral health point of view not such a bad idea.
The reality is, even if you did pack a toothbrush and toothpaste in your child’s bag would they use it? No, of course not, can you blame them?
What you can do is remind your child to rinse their mouth with water after they eat. Rinsing their mouth will remove some of the food particles and debris from their mouth which will help them keep their teeth cleaner.
There are also snacks they can eat such as: cheese, carrots, celery and apples
Cheese, carrots, celery, apples and yoghurt are all good for your teeth for different reasons.
- Cheese has calcium and protein which are both good for healthy teeth. The saliva production from eating cheese will also help to rinse their mouth.
- Yoghurt is like cheese in that it’s high in calcium and protein. The probiotics in yoghurt are good for your gums because they can fight off cavity-causing bacteria.
- Apples: they taste good and help to clean teeth. Some dentists and nutritionists have even labelled them a natural toothbrush. The fibrous flesh of the apple helps to scrub your teeth, gums and tongue. Apples are also good for fighting stains, removing plaque and getting rid of bad breath.
- Carrots are crunchy and full of fiber; eating raw carrots after a meal increases saliva production which minimizes the risk of cavities.
- Celery, like apples, acts like a toothbrush scraping off bacteria and food particles from teeth. Celery also has antioxidants that give the health of your gums a boost.
The importance of your child visiting the dentist regularly
You want to give your child the best chance of good life-long dental health. By ensuring their teeth are always taken care of—through good diet, an at-home oral hygiene routine and regular dental checkups—they can go through their school years without having to worry about their teeth.
Schedule your Back-to-School Dental Checkups with Dentrix Dental Care. Our dental clinics in Northwest Calgary are accepting new patients. Book your appointment online now or call 403-288-5500 for Market Mall and 403-289-9908 for our North Hill office.