Tips for your Child’s Back-to-School Dental Visit:
– How is the child’s overall dental health?
The dentist will be looking at the big picture of the child’s mouth, including teeth and gums. “We will check to make sure teeth are lining up correctly, the child’s bite is in good shape and to keep an eye out for any [orthodontic] issues that may show up later,” Dr. Haifa says. “We’re also making sure baby teeth are going to the Tooth Fairy like they should.”
– Will the child get a cleaning today?
This is a must, no matter how well children brush. “Even if your child—or you, for that matter—brushes twice a day, it’s not possible to get rid of all the bacteria that can lead to cavities,” Dr. Haifa says. “And on the other hand, you may have a child who goes off to camp and never uses their toothbrush.”
That’s why a professional cleaning goes a long way. “It removes more of the cavity-causing bacteria and helps to keep gum tissue healthy,” she says. “It can also remove most or many stains from teeth.”
– Does the child need an X-ray?
X-rays helps your dentist see how the child’s teeth are developing and makes sure the tooth roots are healthy. They also are used to see if there are any tooth decays between the child’s teeth. “The decay process can move very, very fast, so the earlier we can catch it, the better,” Dr. Haifa says. The child won’t need an x-ray at every visit. “We do them only when necessary,” she says.
– Practice the 3-2-1 Rule: To keep kids’ teeth healthy between dental visits, families are encouraged to practice the 3-2-1 Rule at home: Eat three (3) healthy meals, brush two (2) times (morning and night), and floss at least one (1) time every day.
– Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing. Heading towards the dental care aisle when you’re out shopping for notebooks, binders and pencils. If parents buy several toothbrushes they could have their child change to a new one every three months or so, or after an illness. If it’s hard to remember when to change a brush, you could try to change it every time report cards come out. Ask your dentist for a recommendation on how often to change toothbrushes.
– Eating 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
– Wearing a properly fitted mouth guard while participating in organized sports, PE classes or playground activities.