The month of September is back-to-school for most people. Your children may have brand new clothes, all of the school supplies, and be excited to be with their friends again at school. But is their mouth healthy and are they happy?
According to the American Dental Association, a dental examination is as important as immunizations and booster shots and should be a regular part of back-to-school preparations.
Did you know that tooth decay affects U.S. children more than any other chronic infectious disease according to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And 19% of children ages 2 to 19 years old have untreated tooth decay. If a child does not address dental needs early in life, they can grow up with dental pain, which could lead to difficulty eating, speaking and communicating with people.
Here are dentist-approved tips to help you children be healthy, happy and excited for back to school.
Make a Dentist Appointment
A regular dental examination before school is an important part of the back to school checklist. Regular dental examinations help diagnose and prevent dental problems. Your dentist will suggest fluoride treatments or sealants to prevent tooth decay. They can diagnose and treat dental problems early on, so your child will have a better school year.
Pack a Travel Size Tooth Brush with You
Yes regular dental examinations are part of a good oral health care routine, but the majority of the care should always happen at home. A child will look to their parents for advice, support and inspiration. When you take care of your own teeth, your children will see how important it is. One tip to help them care more, is to pack a travel size toothbrush and tell your children to brush their teeth after lunch. This is a great way to keep them engaged in their health.
Eat a Healthy Lunch
Eating healthy food, is one of the best things you can do to keep your teeth in tip top shape. Pick fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Foods with fiber have a detergent effect in your mouth, says the American Dental Association (ADA). They also stimulate saliva flow, which, next to good home dental care, is your best natural defense against cavities and gum disease.
About 20 minutes after you eat something containing sugars or starches, your saliva begins to neutralize the acids and enzymes attacking your teeth. Because saliva contains traces of calcium and phosphate, it also restores minerals to areas of teeth that have lost them from the bacterial acids. Another good choice is cheese, milk, plain yogurt, and other dairy products. Cheese is another saliva generator. The calcium in cheese, and the calcium and phosphates in milk and other dairy products, help put back minerals your teeth might have lost due to other foods.
For more dental advice visit Mt Tabor Dental, a Portland Oregon dentist. Shannon Kaiser is a health and wellness writer.