New School Year is Perfect Time for Kids’ Dental Checkups

One of the many rites of fall is getting kids ready to go back to school. Most parents and kids are happy to get back into the routine. Once the initial list of “to-dos” like buying school supplies is completed, fall is a good time to schedule a preventive kids dental checkups.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says tooth decay is the most chronic disease in children in the United States. Its records show more than 40-percent of children have some tooth decay. And if you’re wondering what that has to do with going to school, think about how you feel when you’re in chronic pain. It’s harder to focus and you tire more quickly. These are both bad traits to take to the classroom.

You might think your kids’ teeth look okay and they don’t need a trip to the dentist, but regular dental visits are a must. Getting into the habit at the beginning of the school year is a good practice to establish. Your dentist can look at the child’s dental and medical history and examine the teeth, jaws and oral tissue.  Then cleaning and polishing your child’s teeth are standard. Many dentists apply a fluoride solution to prevent cavities.

If your child’s permanent teeth are coming in, it might be a good time to determine if orthodontics will be needed in the future and begin preparations.

Establish Healthy Dental Habits Early

Autumn is also a good time to establish healthy dental habits for your kids.

  • By school age or before, kids should brush their teeth twice a day with a small (pea-sized) amount of toothpaste, paying close attention to the teeth and the gum line.
  • Don’t let kids snack too often and when they do, encourage fresh fruit, veggies and cheeses.
  • Remember that sugar and foods high in carbohydrates attract and feed the bacteria that causes tooth decay. There are plenty of other medical reasons for staying away from sugar and carbs.

 

Mouthguards Are Important If Your Kids Play Contact Sports

If your children are bit older and play contact sports, a trip to the dentist should include a discussion about the benefits of high quality athletic mouthguards.  Customized mouthguards are designed to protect teeth and jaws during contact sports and can help reduce the chance of a concussion. They’ve also been shown to increase endurance and reduce stress. Molds of the athlete’s mouth are created in the dentist office, sent to a lab for actual construction and then the dentist does a final fitting.

Finally, if your family dentist has retired or you’ve just moved to a new town, back to school time is a good time to establish an ongoing relationship with a reputable dentist. Whether you plan to take your children to the dentist prior to school starting or in a few months, regular kids dental checkups are important. If you’re in need of a dentist, consider Dr. Blaine McLaughlin and the team at Dental Touch Associates in Cedar Rapids.