Downtown Concord Dental wishes good luck to all the kids who are headed back to school and remember if you take care of your teeth now, they will return the favor for a lifetime Soon our children will be going back to school. This is the time of year many children will come to the dentist with a form that verifies that they have been seen by their dentist and what treatment, if any, needs to be done. Although cavities have been on the decline in recent years due to water fluoridation in many communities, tooth decay is still a common problem for many of our children and adults as well.
You and your family can easily prepare for that first day of class, here are some useful tips for keeping smiles looking great all year.
Remeber That Timing Is Everything
Concord CA Dentist Dr. Aaron K Lee, DDS believes time of day can make or break your child’s appointment. “It’s important for a child of any age who’s used to a nap to not schedule during naptime,” he says. If your child is always cranky after waking up, factor that in too.
For older children, avoid cramming in a dentist appointment right after day camp or school. “Not all kids have the energy to do that,” he says. “I will have parents who want to do very elaborate operative work after school because that’s when the kids can come out. But if the child has already been exhausted or had a bad day or had tests, they just don’t have the stamina to make it through the appointment successfully” say’s Dr. Lee.
Make One Child a Model of Positive Experiences
If you’ve scheduled back-to-back appointments for your children, there’s a simple way to decide who goes first: Choose the child who’s had the most positive experiences at the dentist. “Every child is going to be a little bit different in their temperament about how they approach a visit,” he says. “You generally want the ones first who are more successful because the others get to see how it goes.”
Hungry Children Do Not Make Happy or Coopertive Patients
Feed your child a light meal before the appointment. “Hungry people are grouchy people. You want them to be comfortable,” he says. “It’s also generally a good idea not to feed them in the waiting room before you see the dentist because there’s all that food in [their mouth].” Eating light is also better for a child with a healthy gag reflex. “Some children gag a lot just because they gag with everything,” he says. “As they age and they get more control over swallowing, kids tend to gag less.” Bonus points if your child brushes before an appointment. “It’s polite,” Dr. Lee says.
Students’ back-to-school checklist:
1. Regular clinical and radiographic dental examinations to diagnose, treat and/or prevent dental problems are always important. In school guardians and teachers may not always realize there’s a dental problem, so a regular checkup before school is especially important. Your dentist may suggest fluoride treatments or sealants to prevent decay and can diagnose and treat dental problems such as decay to save your child discomfort and lost attendance.
2. A regular hygiene program including brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing. Visit the dental care section when you’re out shopping for school supplies. If parents buy several toothbrushes they could have their child change to a new one every three months or so, or after an illness. If it’s hard to remember when to change a brush, you could try to change it every time report cards come out. Ask your dentist for a recommendation on how often to change toothbrushes and other hygiene tips.
3. A tooth healthy diet plan. Include portable healthy lunch items and snacks in your child’s sack lunch, including grains, milk, cheese, raw vegetables, yogurt or fruit. If your child eats in the school cafeteria, review healthy, balanced food choices with him/her before the first day of school. It is always a good idea to reduce sugary foods and soft drinks as excessive sugar can not only cause dental decay, but is also unhealthy for a young person’s overall health.
4. Wearing a properly fitted mouth guard while participating in organized sports, PE classes or playground activities.
Last Minute Reminders
- Students should be encouraged to bring a toothbrush to school, and brush right after eating.
- Use toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride.
- A procedure called sealants can help reduce cavities on the top and sides of back teeth by protecting the vulnerable grooves on those surfaces. The use of sealants is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce the incidence of cavities.
- Limit the amount and frequency of eating sugary foods and beverages.
- Some children will benefit from prescription fluoride gels, tablets, or drops. Prescription strength fluoride can also be delivered in custom fitted trays.
- An antiseptic mouthwash containing chlorhexidine gluconate can also be useful in killing bacteria associated with cavities.
- Wearing a properly fitted mouthguard while participating in organized sports, PE classes or playground activities.
Children who have one or more new cavities at each dental check-up should be considered high risk for tooth decay. You should talk to your dentist about what preventive measures he or she recommends if your child is cavity prone. Regular visits to the dentist and following the advice of your dentist should help students have a cavity free school year.
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