It’s a time of year that is synonymous with every August in San Antonio, when vacations come to an end: Back to School! This is the time of year when the sunshine and swimming wind down, and our children get ready to buckle down for a new year of learning. We know parents have a lot on their plate this time of year, and that your schedules are super busy. However, in between buying new supplies, cool clothes, and first-day snacks, we strongly encourage you make a Back to School appointment for your child with their dentist for the sake of their health.
“It is so important to make sure your child goes to a dentist for a routine, Back to School cleaning and check-up. This is an opportunity to spot any problems and to take care of small issues before they become painful distractions in the classroom,” says Dr. Lela Farmer, lead pediatric dentist at Scuba Smile for Kids in north central San Antonio.
There are 6 steps you can take right now to keep your child away from any dental disasters during the school year.
First, call your dentist and set up a Back to School appointment for your child. While there may be fewer headlines in the news about COVID- your dentist is still taking precautions to keep everyone safe. Be sure to ask about any safety measures in place at your dentist’s office while you are making your appointment.
“A visit to a dentist can be scary for a child, especially if it is their first visit. Be sure to talk to your child about what to expect during their visit to ease any fears and anxiety. The more reassurance you can give your child, the more successful their visit will be” said Dr. Farmer.
Clean those teeth.
Second, be sure a good cleaning is included in your appointment. Sure, your child may be brushing and flossing as they should be every day. But after a summer filled with ice cream, hot dogs, and candy, a good professional cleaning is essential to maintain great oral health.
“A thorough cleaning by the dentist can help remove hidden stains, plaque build-up that is hard to just brush away, and harmful bacteria hiding in those nooks and crannies,” said Dr. Farmer.
Third, it is the perfect time to ask questions about your child’s oral health at your appointment. Inquire if their teeth are coming in properly. Ask if there may be potential developmental issues on the horizon. The more information you have, the better prepared you will be to handle any issues that come up during the school year.
Need an X-ray?
Fourth, do you have a complete picture of your child’s mouth? The Back to School exam is a wonderful time to get an X-ray. An X-ray can reveal hard-to-spot tooth decay that may be developing and show you and the dentist what’s happening below the gum line or other issues you can’t see.
Seal the deal
Fifth, sealants are another great way to prevent cavities. Remember, there are no substitutes for good brushing and flossing habits. But, sealants are a thin coating that can be placed on your child’s teeth and can keep cavity-causing food bits and bacteria from getting into places where your child’s brushing can’t reach. Did you know that having sealants on your child’s permanent molars can reduce the risk of cavities by as much as 80%?
Get back to a tooth brushing routine
Six, summer can throw just about any routine off the rails. Take advantage of your child’s Back-to-School check-up to get them back into a championship-level brushing routine! Be sure to ask your dentist about what kind of toothbrush your child should use for their age. The better they brush, the healthier their teeth and gums will be in the long run! It’s a great time to ask your child’s dentist to demonstrate the best brushing and flossing techniques.
We encourage you to make a dental appointment for your child to ensure your child’s smile is bright and healthy as they begin another exciting school year.