Backpack…check. School supplies…check. DENTAL VISIT… uh-oh
Did you know that according to the online article, “ADA Consumer News – Back to School,” a dental examination is as important as immunizations and should be a regular part of back-to-school preparations. That is why it is so important to visit your dentist before school starts if your child is due for their 6-month check-up or if they are having any difficulties with their teeth.
School Performance and Oral Health Problems:
The above online article, “ADA Consumer News – Back to School,” provides statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that report that tooth decay impacts children in the U.S. more than any other chronic infectious disease. In addition, 19 percent of children ages 2 to 19 years old have untreated tooth decay. The article goes on to say that dental pain or disease can then lead to difficulty in eating, speaking, playing and learning, as well as millions of hours of missed school.
Two other online sources speak to the impact of untreated dental problems on school performance. A blog by Delta Dental, entitled, “Back-to-School Checklist: Don’t Forget to Add Dental Appointments,” explains that oral health problems can distract kids from concentrating in the classroom so that they can fall behind in their schoolwork. An ADA online article, “8 Secrets to a Successful Back-to-School Dental Checkup,” states that dental disease causes children to miss more than 51 million school hours each year. That’s a lot of missed school due to oral health problems!
Questions to Ask at a Back-to-School Appointment:
The online ADA article, “5 Questions to Ask at Your Child’s Back-to-School Dental Visit,” lists several helpful questions you can ask at your child’s back-to-school appointment. Here they are summarized below:
- How is My Child’s Overall Dental Health?
At your child’s back-to-school visit, your dentist will be looking at several things: the health of your child’s teeth and gums and whether or not their teeth are lining up correctly. Is your child flossing once a day and brushing twice a day, and does it show? And remember that no matter how well they brush and floss, it is not possible to get rid of all cavity-causing bacteria. A professional cleaning cleans away this bacteria, keeps their gum tissue healthy and also removes teeth stains.
- Does My Child Need an X-Ray?
X-rays help your dentist assess several very important factors in your child’s mouth. They help you see how your child’s teeth are developing, ensure their tooth roots are healthy, and help them to see any tooth decay between your child’s teeth. The article adds that tooth decay can move very fast, so the earlier you detect tooth decay, the better.
- Can You Check My Child’s Mouthguard?
If your child plays sports that require a mouthguard, be sure that they bring the mouthguard in to their back-to-school appointment. Your dentist will then check the mouthguard for wear, tear and fit. Growth spurts, losing teeth and growing new teeth are all signs that their mouthguard might need to be redone.
- Does My Child Need Sealants?
A sealant is a thin, protective coating (made from plastic or other dental materials) that is placed on the permanent molars in your child’s mouth. They keep cavity-causing bacteria and bits of food from settling into the areas where your child’s toothbrush can’t reach in order to both prevent cavities and to prevent existing decay from worsening. It is recommended to get sealants as soon as your child’s permanent molars come through their gums (usually at age 6, and then again at age 12). Sealants on permanent molars reduce the risk of cavities by 80 percent!
We at Boulevard Dental know that there is a lot on your mind before the start of the school year! And as important as school supplies and a back-to-school wardrobe are, we don’t want you to forget the essentials of oral health. Making sure you have attended to your child’s oral health before the start of the school year will both improve their school performance and your peace of mind leading up to and during their next year of school. So in the midst of the back-to-school business, don’t miss the really important stuff!
“ADA Consumer News – Back To School” –
“Back-to-School Checklist: Don’t Forget to Add Dental Appointments” –
“5 Questions to Ask at Your Child’s Back-to-School Dental Visit” –
“8 Secrets to a Successful Back-to-School Dental Checkup” –