Your child may have the latest wardrobe and school supplies for the new school year, but do they have a healthy mouth and the tools to maintain it?
According to the American Dental Association, a dental examination is as important as immunizations and booster shots and should be a regular part of back-to-school preparations. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that tooth decay affects U.S. children more than any other chronic infectious disease and 19 percent of children ages 2 to 19 years old have untreated tooth decay. Dental pain can lead to difficulty in eating, speaking, playing and learning as well as missing hours of school.
Back-to-school checklist for your child:
- Regular dental exams to diagnose and treat or prevent dental problems. Your dentist may suggest fluoride treatments or sealants to prevent decay and can diagnose and treat dental problems to save your child pain and lost school time.
- Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing. Plan ahead and buy several toothbrushes at once while shopping for school supplies. Change them out once every three months or so, or after an illness.
- Eat healthy lunches and snacks. 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 before the first day of school. Cut back on sugary foods and drinks.
- Wearing a properly fitted mouthguard while participating in organized sports, PE classes or playground activities.
- Last but not least, enjoy the last days of summer!