With summer behind us, school is officially back in session!
While most parents are preoccupied with new school supplies and back-to-school sales, it’s also an important time to give your child the right tools for proper dental care. After all, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that tooth decay is still one of the most prevalent chronic conditions among children in the U.S. According to their research:
- Nearly 20% of children aged 5 to 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth
- Approximately 13% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have at least one untreated decayed tooth.
What’s really startling about this research is that these problems will often persist into adulthood. Essentially, early dental habits can impact your child’s smile for the rest of their life — why not start them on the right foot?
From all of us here at Precision Dentistry & Implants, we encourage you to take this fresh start as an opportunity to instill great oral care habits in your children.
Back-to-School Dental Tips for Your Child
Make Oral Care Fun: Regular brushing and flossing can sometimes feel like a chore, so try to make this routine more fun with kid-friendly dental apps! There are plenty of free apps you can download on your smartphone that will make brushing and flossing more fun while measuring the time for them and providing a distraction.
You can also make oral care more fun by allowing your child to pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. This will help them get excited about taking care of their teeth.
Reward Good Habits: If you notice that your child is doing a great job at maintaining a regular oral hygiene routine, reward their efforts! This will create extra motivation to keep up excellent dental habits. However, remember to avoid rewarding them with sugary foods and beverages that can end up harming their teeth and gums.
Monitor Snacks and Lunches: Keep an eye out on what foods your children have for lunch and snacks. If you happen to pack their lunch, include nutritious options that promote a healthy smile. Great dental-friendly options include yogurt, crunchy veggies and fruits, and nuts.
Be a Role Model: Children take cues from their parents in nearly every aspect of their life. Of course, the same is true when it comes to your own dental habits. Be sure to brush, floss, and visit the dentist regularly to set a good example of proper oral care.
Go to the Dentist: While going for checkups and immunizations for school, make a dental appointment part of the routine. Regular appointments with your dentist help to catch and treat dental problems in the early stages. It’s far cheaper and less painful to treat a small cavity rather than enduring a root canal.
Better Oral Health = Better Grades?
Will having a healthier smile benefit your child’s academics? Although there is a correlation between dental health and grades, the connection can actually be attributed to missed school due to dental problems. According to a 2015 Delta Dental survey, 18% of parents reported their children missed at least a half day of school due to problems related to dental health. Limiting your child’s amount of missed time in the classroom is a key factor in bolstering academic performance.
A study from the Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California found similar results after examining nearly 1,500 socioeconomically disadvantaged elementary and high school students.
The study found that “children who reported having recent tooth pain were four times more likely to have a low grade point average—below the median GPA of 2.8—when compared to children without oral pain.” Researchers believe that missed time from school and distraction from dental pain can contribute to the differences in grades.
Contact Precision Dentistry & Implants
Don’t let your child’s dental health suffer! We offer a variety of services ranging from orthodontics to routine cleanings to give your child a healthy, beautiful smile.
To get started, contact our office today to schedule your child’s next appointment with Dr. Matthew Huff!