Even though the summer air is still warm, fall is right around the corner and that means the beginning of a new school year! We know parents are busy checking off to-do list items to prepare their kids for school.
Pencils, backpacks, notebooks, new clothes, and an annual physical with the pediatrician are regular items on those lists–but what about a back to school trip to the dentist? A hygiene check-up and a cleaning can help prepare your children for a healthy school year.
Because children are constantly growing, including all the changes happening with their teeth, regular doctor’s and dentist’s visits are very important.
Coming in to see us before the beginning of a new school year allows us to assess the changes in your child’s mouth since their last appointment and making sure teeth are coming in correctly, gums are healthy and not swollen, the bite is straight and well-aligned, and looking out for any red flags that could indicate problems down the line.
Getting a professional cleaning is also smart for this visit, just in case routine brushing and flossing were interrupted by the lack of routine (and increased sweet treats!) over summer vacation. Even if your child brushes twice a day, there’s no way for anyone to get absolutely all of the harmful bacteria that can settle in the nooks and crannies of teeth. A cleaning can also remove most stains from teeth–perfect preparation for school picture day.
Sealants are a simple way to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Sealants are a tooth-colored protective coating that covers the surface of chewing molars and acts as a shield against harmful bacteria. They can even slow down the progression of existing tooth decay.
Sealants can be a very effective preventative measure and can reduce cavities up to 80%. We may recommend a sealant be applied as soon as your child’s molars erupt, and then periodically as needed to protect the surface of the teeth. Sealants need to be checked regularly, yet another reason for regularly scheduled hygiene visits.
Engaging in school sports is a common way for kids to stay healthy, get time outdoors, and learn about things like teamwork and communication. However, sports can sometimes result in injury, especially high-intensity sports like soccer, football, lacrosse, even softball, and baseball.
Parents stock up on protective equipment like helmets, shin guards, and protective padding, and mouth guards–all requirements to prevent serious injuries. It is definitely easy and cheap to grab an over the counter mouthguard from the drugstore, either a pre-formed one or one that is boiled soften and then mold to the child’s individual bite.
While these options technically meet safety standards set by schools, the absolute most effective mouthguard is one customized in our office. At a back to school checkup, we can take an impression of your child’s teeth and create a mouth guard that can guarantee the highest possible level of protection against wayward soccer balls, elbows, and hockey pucks during the game. Because kids’ mouths are always growing, it’s good to refresh these custom mouth guards yearly, even every 6 months if necessary.
Setting your child up for a successful school year is a process all parents are interested in getting right. Be sure it to include a visit to our office this fall for as an important part of your preparation!