The first week of school is already underway, and your to-do list is complete. Brand new clothes? Check! Trendy pencil case? Check! Fresh trim? Check! Think your little chomper’s all set for Fall? Think again. The start of the new school year is the perfect time for a back-to-school dental checkup!
Why should I prioritize dental care for my kids?
First off, let’s hear from the experts. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), a dental appointment is just as important as a booster shot, and should be considered a key part of your back-to-school prep. Why? For starters, the consequences of dental pain or disease could be serious, and certainly aren’t to be taken lightly. If dental issues are gone untreated, our child could experience problems sleeping, speaking, or eating. They could also end up missing school or have difficulties socializing. All these things have a major impact on your child’s happiness, making a back-to-school dental check-up well worth your time.
But none of those could actually happen to your child, right? After all, you make sure they brush their teeth and go to the dentist now and again. Well, you might be surprised by how common these sorts of dental problems are. According to the CDC, 18.6% of children aged 5-19 years have untreated dental caries, while 23% of kids aged 2-5 years have experienced caries in their primary teeth. Yikes! That’s a whole lot of tooth decay, and it’s a pretty good reason why starting the school year with a dentist visit should be the first thing on your checklist!
1. Make an appointment with a pediatric dentist
Get the year off to the right start with a dental exam and cleaning. You might not be able to identify dental problems on your own, so regular trips to a child dentist are super important for ensuring that your child’s teeth and gums remain healthy. By scheduling at least 2 trips to the dentist every year, you can make sure that any dental problems your child experiences are diagnosed and treated in a timely fashion, and you’ll make sure they don’t have to miss school for dental pain.
2. Stock up on toothbrushes and floss
Back-to-school shopping isn’t all about paper, protractors, and pencils! When you’re picking up this year’s silo of socks for your kid (seriously, where do they all go?), head over to the dental care aisle and stock up on dental supplies. Toothbrushes, fluoride toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash are the basics, and should stand your child in good stead for the year ahead. Make sure you get enough toothbrushes that you’re able to change them on a regular basis. The ADA recommends that you replace them every three to four months.
3. Pack a healthy lunchbox
Summer’s over, and that means that a diet consisting mostly of ice cream, sweets, and syrupy soda needs to come to an end as well. Hey, we’re not saying that you need to completely cut the treats from your kid’s lunch box, but you definitely need to replace all those lunchtime no-no’s with healthy snacks that aren’t going to do any damage to your little one’s teeth.
Need inspiration? No problem. There are loads of tooth-friendly snacks that you can add to your packed lunches with minimal fuss. Skip the soda and forget about fruit juice. Instead, go for water or milk. Considering packing a slice of cake for an afternoon sugar rush? Fruit or a handful of nuts can serve as a healthy (and delicious) replacement.
Start the new school year with a smile. It’s not too late.