It's hard to believe, but it is back-toschool time. Drs. Robert and Mandy Shearer have some great dental tips to keep kids' smiles happy and healthy.
"Education begins at home, so make it a priority to establish and maintain a good diet and oral hygiene practices during childhood, which helps to ensure good oral health throughout life," Dr. Mandy Shearer said. "With over 51 million school hours missed per year because of dental related problems, we think it's pretty safe to say that taking steps to prevent dental problems and dental emergencies in school-age children is a good idea."
With that in mind, here are some tips that can help ensure dental check-ups are the only dental appointments kids will need this year.
Dental check-ups are recommended every six months.
"Along with a professional cleaning, dental check-ups allow a chance for us to evaluate your child's teeth, gums and mouth," Dr. Bob Shearer said. "We're looking to prevent any problems from occurring. The earlier you start your child's routine of visiting us, the greater the chances they will continue the habit as an adult."
Having a dental check-up can give peace of mind knowing that your child's teeth are fit for school. Children who are experiencing toothaches will have difficulty concentrating in class, which is why prevention is key.
Flossing and brushing teeth twice a day with a fluoride-based toothpaste is necessary for fighting periodontal disease, though most children skip this in their rush to get ready for school. Make this a fun daily task by allowing children to choose a toothbrush - whether it's of their favorite cartoon character or color. Also, check children's brushing skills by using plaque discloser
mouthwash periodically to check for missed brushing areas.
Flossing is often trickier for children to learn. Once a child has the dexterity to floss, be sure to supervise at first and make sure they are reaching the back teeth as well.
The foods we eat can impact our dental health.
Packing fresh veggies and fruits not only provides good nutrients and vitamins, it helps build a strong mouth. Teach children to avoid junk food. Instead of allowing them to grab prepackaged sugary snacks, encourage them to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Parents should also fill their lunch box with whole-grain sandwiches, and don't forget to include milk or water in their lunch instead of sugar-filled beverages. Cheese is a great snack option because it has been shown to help protect teeth against cavities.
"Teeth are partly made up of calcium, so increased saliva-calcium levels help re-mineralize teeth and prevent cavities from occurring. So having a diet higher in calcium strengthens teeth and helps prevent cavities," noted Dr. Bob Shearer.
If you can't forego it, look for candy and sugar-free gum that contains Xylitol, a very effective cavity fighter that prevents decay from occurring.
Youth athletics are an important part of life for many kids, and dental injuries can happen in any sport. Make sure kids wear a dental mouth guard to protect their teeth during practice and games. Even children and teens with braces are recommended to wear a sports guard.
To prevent tooth decay, many dentists recommend dental sealants, a protective coating that's applied to the surface of the back teeth. "Dental sealants are an excellent way to prevent cavities," Dr. Mandy Shearer said. "One of the most susceptible surfaces of a tooth to decay is the chewing surface, where deep grooves, pits, exist. It is very difficult to thoroughly clean plaque and food
particles in the hard-toreach areas, especially when the grooves are deeper. By sealing this part of the tooth with a flowable resin material, it prevents bacteria from being able to access, grow and cause tooth decay."
Giving children an incentive whenever they do something that contributes to great dental health ill make it easier for them to maintain oral hygiene throughout life. Rewarding them whenever they choose to pack a banana in their school lunch box instead of a chocolate bar is one example.
Brush, floss, pack a healthy snack each day and see the dentist twice a year. From ages 5-13, a lot is happening in a child's mouth. They start losing teeth and getting their adult teeth. Doing preventive dentistry is very critical. Visiting the dentist every six months will allow for healthy teeth throughout the year.
For more information about Soddy Daisy Smiles and the practice's services, visit soddydaisysmiles.com or call the office at 423-332-5275 to schedule an appointment.