Starting the School Year Right: The Importance of Dental Evaluations for Your Child’s Oral Health

Dental checkup before back to school

We want the best for our kids!

When it comes to our children, we do everything we can to keep them in tip-top shape. We worry about every little fever, each tummy ache. We can’t help it! Just like we take our children to their pediatrician to make sure they are right on track, we should also be taking our kids to their pediatric dentist for a dental checkup on those teeth! There are so many changes to their mouth throughout their childhood, and we want to do what we can to keep their smile shining for a lifetime.

Cavities are a big problem.

Did you know that over half of children between 6 and 8 years old have at least one cavity? That statistic doesn’t get much better once all of those adult teeth come in, either. 57% of children between the ages of 12 and 19 also have a cavity in their permanent teeth.

It is a common thought that cavities aren’t as serious when in baby teeth. They fall out in a few years anyway, right? But keeping those teeth healthy and clean can go a long way to forming good habits as your child grows older.

If a cavity forms on the tooth and isn’t caught in a timely manner, it can create all sorts of problems. The decay can spread to neighboring teeth, or even down into the gumline. Sometimes, the tooth can even be lost. A prematurely missing tooth means the other teeth will shift to try and fill in the gaps. This creates bite issues, uneven teeth, speech issues, and even problems with the developing jaw.

I can take care of it myself…

Your child’s dentist is trained to get all of the bacteria-filled plaque off of those teeth before it has a chance to cause cavities. Though parents can brush their child’s teeth at home, diminishing the amount of plaque build-up, they can’t always get into each nook and cranny. Whatever you do, don’t try to scrape away the plaque at home! It’s easy to harm the enamel of the tooth, opening it up to infection. The tools are sharp, which can cut the gums, or even push them back too far, creating gum and tooth sensitivity.

Leave the dental scraping to the dental hygienist. At home, be sure your child brushes their teeth thoroughly, and that they don’t forget the floss. Let the dental hygienist worry about getting any build-up off of those teeth.

Back-to-school Dental Checkup

It’s common to take your children to visit the pediatrician before school begins each year. This is for several reasons. First, you want to get your kiddo caught up on any vaccinations that they might need for sports or school. Second, it’s a time that’s easy to remember. The same goes for the dentist. When making that back-to-school to-do list, why not add a dentist appointment to the calendar? 

Getting it done means your child won’t be worrying about how their smile looks, and they will be able to smile confidently for their school photos! 

Regularly Scheduled Appointments

Getting your child in for regular dental cleaning is more than just a tooth-brushing session. The dental hygienist will safely scrape away any plaque that might’ve had a chance to build up. During the dental evaluation, the dentist  will check for any signs of future problems and help you come up with a game plan to keep your child’s smile healthy throughout their life. This can help you save money in the long run by both preventing severe issues and taking care of any that do occur before they have a chance to get worse.

Ensuring your child keeps up with their regular dental cleanings means they will have fresher breath, be less likely to have cavities, and will keep you up to date on all of the oral hygiene products out there.

What does a back-to-school dental session include?

Your typical back-to-school dental cleaning will include X-rays, a dental evaluation, dental cleaning,  fluoride treatment, any required sealants, and an oral cancer screening. Everything is preventative, with the goal of keeping your child smiling confidently for years to come.

How do I prepare my child?

If your child is unfamiliar, or nervous about going to the dentist, the idea of bringing them in might be a little daunting. Be sure to remind them that the dentist is on their side, part of their team to help keep their smile healthy and bright. For many children, it might be helpful to talk to them in advance about the appointment. Explain to them what to expect, and answer any questions they may have. 

Where should I go?

We would love to have your family here at Monroe Family Dentistry! We strive to keep your child’s smile healthy from that first tooth, all the way into adulthood. We know that even those baby teeth matter when it comes to shaping your child’s future. If you have any questions for us or are ready to book your child’s back-to-school dental cleaning, you can make an appointment here!

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