Dental health is often thought of in singular terms like aesthetics and pain avoidance, but the effects of neglecting your child’s dental health is far more reaching than that.
For example, we often don’t consider the increased amount of missed school days neglecting a child’s dental health causes, much less all the resulting ripples like poorer student grades and lost wages for the parent. A recent study found that dental pain and toothaches amongst students aged 5 to 17 resulted in 58 to 80 hours of missed school per 100 students and 2.5 missed work days for the corresponding parents.
Of course, many of these consequences and the resulting ripples can be avoided with proactive oral hygiene practices. Plus, good oral health care for children has a plethora of benefits, including gum disease and cavity prevention, better social adjustment and fitting in with peers, improved self-esteem, and improved concentration and grades for lack of distracting mouth pain.
Dentistry by RSE has put together six tips to ensure good oral health for your reference.
1. Annual Dental Checkups
Annual dental checkups are when the dentist checks for cavities, tooth decay, tooth discoloring, signs of gum disease, tooth growth and placement, and jaw growth. Your child’s teeth also get a professional cleaning and polishing.
Whether you schedule right before you send your child back to school or at the end of each school year, it’s important for your child to see their pediatric dentist at least once a year. Scheduling around annual school benchmarks helps ensure you don’t forget to make appointments. It just becomes part of your school vacation or back-to-school checklists.
2. Teach Your Child the Big Three Basics: Brushing, Rinsing, and Flossing
Brushing and rinsing should be at least twice a day, and flossing should be done at least once per day. Monitor any child seven and under to ensure they’re correctly and adequately doing these big three basics.
Giving your child an active role as early as possible helps establish oral hygiene habits, they’ll carry with them the rest of their lives. Get them involved, but do monitor and help where needed.
You can also set fun timers and download oral hygiene apps to help teach and motivate. Of course, watching you practice what you preach helps your child understand all their what and why questions.
3. Do Periodic Inspections
Once a month or so, take time to look in your child’s mouth for precursors to gum and tooth issues like red or swollen gums, discolorations, plaque buildup, and chips in the enamel. Schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist at the first sign; it can help you avoid the possibility of much more costly and invasive emergency dental services later.
Also keep an eye on your child’s oral health supplies to ensure toothbrushes are replaced when worn and your child doesn’t skip oral hygiene because they’re out of something.
4. Make Treats a Treat
Treats like candy, cookies, ice cream, and other sugary stuffs should be just that – a treat, not an everyday staple in your child’s diet. When these sticky, sugary treats are left in the mouth, your child’s cavity and decay risk dramatically increases with each occurrence.
You can always use fresh fruits, nuts, and whole grains as healthier dessert and snack alternatives.
When it is time for a sugary treat, it’s best to eat them after meals because the food particles offer some protection against the stickiness of sugary substances. Your child should also form the habit of rinsing after meals and treats to remove stray food particles that create harmful acids and give bacteria a food source for growth.
5. Does Your Child Need Fluoride Treatments and Sealants?
Fluoride helps strengthen teeth and prevent decay and cavities. In most cases, local tap water offers sufficient fluoride. This isn’t the case everywhere, however, and well water doesn’t have added fluoride. So, be sure to ask about your child’s fluoride needs at your next appointment.
Sealants are another important consideration in preventing tooth decay and cavities. This dental treatment helps prevent bacteria and plaque from colonizing in any dips and grooves on the tooth’s surface by sealing up those areas. Our dentists here at Dentistry by RSE can advise you if sealants are needed.
6. Teach Your Child How to Deal With Dental Emergencies
The most common pediatric dental emergencies are related to trips, falls, and forceful contact incidences that can accidentally crack a tooth or knock a tooth loose or out. It typically occurs during rough play and as a sports-related injury.
Kids should know what to do until you can arrive to take them for emergency dental care and/or call your pediatric dentist for further instructions.
If a tooth is knocked out, instruct your child to collect the tooth without touching the root (the bottom part) and to keep it moist either by placing it in the pocket of their cheek or in a small glass of milk.
If a tooth is cracked, instruct your child to rinse with tepid clean water to remove any debris and place a covered ice pack or cold cloth against the outside of the cheek to lessen inflammation.
These dental care tips, provided by Dentistry by RSE, will go a long way in preventing dental emergencies that cause missed work and school and otherwise negatively impact your child’s schooling. And, when an unavoidable dental emergency does occur, simply knowing how to respond can make treatment less involved and more expedient and successful.
Are you concerned about any element discussed above or how your child’s dental health is impacting their academics? If so, we are here to help. Please contact our office today for an appointment. You can call us at (281) 391-4422 or fill out the form below.