Every child wants to start the school year right. The end of summer means that parents will be scheduling haircuts and buying new outfits and school supplies. But most parents overlook a simple step to helping their child have a good start to the new school year – by helping them with their smile. One of the first things most people notice about someone is their smile and having a good smile creates a positive self-image, which is what all parents wish for their children. Seeing a dentist twice a year when a child is young is important because those pre-teen years are the years where there is a lot of change in the mouth. It’s the time when kids lose their baby teeth and get their permanent teeth.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay (dental caries) is the most common chronic disease of children aged 6 to 11 years and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years. If tooth decay is left untreated, it can negatively affect a child’s ability to eat, speak, sleep, and even learn. Preventive checkups twice a year can prevent childhood tooth decay and help you protect your child and their teeth throughout the year.
Here are a few questions you should ask your child’s dentist:
- How Is My Child’s Overall Dental Health?
The dentist will be looking at your child’s mouth to get an idea of how healthy their whole mouth is, including teeth, tongue, and gums. Dentists also check to make sure teeth are lining up properly, if their bite is in good shape, and to keep an eye out for any underlying issues that may pop up later.
- Will my child get a cleaning today?
Getting a cleaning is a must, even if your child brushes their teeth twice a day. A professional cleaning will remove more of the bacteria that cause cavities and help keep gum tissue healthy. It can also remove most stains.
- Will my child need an x-ray?
X-rays are a way for dentists to check your child’s teeth and how they are developing. They also make sure that their tooth roots are healthy. X-rays are also used to make sure that there is no tooth decay between your child’s teeth. This is especially important because the decay process can move very fast – so catching it early is important.
- Do you recommend sealants?
A sealant is a thin, protective coating, usually made some form of dental materials, which stick to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Sealants are designed to keep your child from getting cavities but are not a substitute for brushing and flossing. The best time to get sealants is when your child’s permanent molars come through their gums. Most sealants last for years, and dentists will make sure they’re holding up at every regular visit.
Another thing to do for back to school is to establish daily brushing habits with your children and make good nutrition a priority. Children should brush their teeth twice a day, and use toothpaste that has fluoride, as well as a child-friendly toothbrush with soft bristles.
Other Back-to-School Dental Tips
A few other things you can do include making sure that your children eat the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, which can help lower their risk of cavities, as well as keep tracking of their calcium consumption. It is also common for kids to sporting practices after school and many will turn to sugary foods and drinks from a vending machine because it is usually their only option.
Preparing snacks like carrots, fruits, nuts, and bottled water is not only better for their oral health but will give your children the fuel they need to shine in physical activity. You can take charge of your child’s health this school year by packing healthy lunches and providing them with nutritious snacks.
The best way you can start the school year off the right way is by scheduling an appointment with Foothill Dental Care in Livermore. Scheduling their back to school dental visits can help them prevent problems from developing throughout the school year, so they won’t have any interruptions taking away from their studies. Give your Livermore dentist a call today at (925) 961-5484.