Are Back-To-School Dental Checkups Really Necessary?

» Posted by on Aug 21, 2018 in Blog, Children, Dental Tips | 0 comments

Dear Dr. Merchant,

Summer is winding down and back-to-school is ramping up. With all the items on my to do list, is it really necessary add a back-to-school dental check up to my growing list of duties?

Are Back to School Dental Checkups Really Needed?

Signed, 

Busy Parent

 

Dear Busy,

In a word, YES! Number two pencils and a sturdy backpack aren’t the only things your child needs to start the school year off right. A back-to-school dental check up is just as important as a child’s well check at the pediatrician for many reasons. Your child’s overall oral health can have a significant impact on his/her performance at school, and the last thing a busy family needs is to take time away from school to treat issues that could have been prevented. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends these visits to maintain good oral health. Scheduling an appointment now before the school year is in full swing is a great way to put your child on the road to success. Good oral health is all about healthy eating and brushing habits. Setting this stage before school starts is one less thing either of you will need to stress about once September rolls around. Older children involved in sports will want to discuss mouth protection with their dentist. Back-to-school is the time to get fitted for a mouthguard before the games begin. Finally, having a dental emergency plan in place for the ifs and whens is an easy way to spare yourself some panic in the event of a true dental emergency.

Check In On Your Child’s Overall Dental Health

This is a question for your dentist. Knowing in advance what you might see in the future means reassurance for you and your child. Be proactive and schedule an appointment now before the year gets under way. Making a plan with your provider to manage your child’s oral health care will help eliminate future “surprises” and give you some peace of mind with regards to your child’s overall well being. Minor issues such as cavities can cause major discomfort which leads to distraction in the classroom. Taking care of these and other problems before they get out of control may save your child lost time at school.

Good Habits = Prevention                                                                                                                                                 

Smart families start the school year by establishing routines to encourage success. Earlier bedtimes, limiting electronics, brushing and flossing regularly, and healthier eating habits equals victory in the classroom. Remember the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” It’s never been more true than with regards to a healthy mouth. 3-2-1 is a popular refrain for dental providers. It stands for three healthy meals a day, brushing twice a day, and flossing once a day for optimal dental health.

Emergency Plan? Check!

Children are prone to injuries on the schoolyard, during sports, and physical education. Talk with your provider about whether or not your child needs a properly fitting mouthguard for his/her activities at school. If you’ve ever found yourself in an emergency situation and not known whom to contact first, you are not alone. Be prepared in the event that your child has a dental emergency whether at school or home by keeping several of your dentist’s business cards handy. Grab a few during your next visit to stash in your purse or wallet just in case. Knowing that you have someone to call will spare you some of the anxiety that comes with a cracked tooth or worse.

As you can see, I feel very strongly about the importance of a back-to-school dental visit. My own children will be getting theirs at the end of this month. It’s part of our routine to begin the school year by addressing any issues that have arisen since their last visit and to start the year off with a bright smile. Make your appointments soon, back-to-school spots fill up quickly.

Happy Oral Health!

Dr. Christopher D. Merchant D.D.S.

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