Back to School Dental Health Issues

As your children begin school again, there is a flurry of activity to make sure they have the proper clothes, school supplies, backpacks, etc.  You might want to give some thought to their dental care needs as the spend most of their day at school.

It is always a good idea to start the year off with a dental exam and cleaning.  Ask the hygienist about fluoride treatments and sealants.  Sealants are a great investment because they coat the teeth with a protective covering that helps prevent cavities.  While at your visit, discuss with your dentist the types of sports your child is involved in.  He can give you tips on how to protect their teeth during sports play, and whether an athletic mouth guard might be a good idea for your child.  Should a sports injury occur to the mouth, these are often very scary because the soft oral tissue does bleed profusely.  Put an ice pack on the injury, try to find any displaced teeth and bring them to your dentist right away to see if the teeth can be reinserted.  If a child loses a baby tooth prematurely, a spacer may be considered to insure that the adult tooth has the room it needs to emerge properly.

Another important issue when children return to school is their eating habits.  Parents have less control as children eat meals at school.  Be sure they start their day with a good breakfast and they brush after eating.  Pack healthy foods for lunch and avoid sugary snacks and sodas.  While most children are not going to brush during the school day, get them in the habit of a thorough brushing and flossing twice a day, mornings and evenings.  A fluoride rinse after brushing strengthens the teeth's enamel and helps protect against cavities. 

Don't slack off monitoring a child as they enter the teen years.  I have seen some teens with very bad soda habits that have rampant decay that threatens their ability to keep their teeth.  While most schools don't allow kids to chew gum, studies have shown that chewing sugarless gums with xylitol sweeteners help stimulate saliva flow and inhibits bacterial growth.  So some sugarless gum on the ride home could be a treat with an added benefit to their dental health.

Give the office a call at 713.668.9119 to get your back to school checkup scheduled.  We see all ages of kids at Contemporary Dental.