A new school year is approaching and millions of children all over the United States are getting ready with new school supplies, new clothes, and excitement for a new year. A new school year is also a great reminder to book your children’s back-to-school dental checkup! Getting your children in the dentist’s chair before school helps keep their mouths healthy so that they won’t miss any learning time because of dental problems.
When to schedule back-to-school dental checkups
Summers tend to fill up with barbeques, pool days, trips, and other fun activities. It can be easy to forget to schedule a visit with your family dentist! To make sure you get in before school starts, we recommend scheduling the appointment as soon as summer break begins, if possible. Dental offices usually get very busy during the end of summer, and it can be hard to get appointments if you don’t do it early. Try to schedule your children’s appointments before school starts so that any additional treatments they need can be completed before the first day of class.
Many dental offices offer reminder services, such as emails or texts, to make sure you remember appointments. This is a great way to keep track of upcoming appointments that are sometimes forgotten in the summer.
How to prepare for back-to-school dental checkups
It’s important to stay on top of good oral health habits during the summertime. It can be easy to skip brushings after long days, however this can lead to serious oral health problems once the back-to-school dental check up comes along.
Remember to have your children:
- Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste (Brushing needs to last two minutes!)
- Floss once daily
Practicing good oral health habits before seeing the dentist is a great way to prevent cavities and have happy children (and dentists) at the end of appointments. If your children have anxiety about seeing the dentist, use the summer months to help them practice strategies that can ease their worries.
Ways to ease children’s dental anxiety:
- Manage your own anxiety. If you suffer from dental anxiety, it’s important that you do your best not to unintentionally transfer it to your own children.
- Read books. There are plenty of books out there to choose from including Curious George Visits the Dentist by A. Rey, Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer and Open Wide: School Tooth Inside by Laurie Keller. These will not only familiarize your children with the dentist but can also reshape their attitudes towards the whole experience.
- Play “dentist” at home. Have your children pretend to be dentists and look at your teeth. Then, pretend you are the dentist and mimic things that may happen at the dentist. This pretend play can help kids prepare for their dental checkups.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, meditating, and other relaxation techniques are great ways to manage anxiety. Not only will these help your children feel better when they visit the dentist, they are also good life-skills. Check out some tips to help your children start practicing meditation.
Back-to-school dental checkups keep kids in school
Tooth pain can make it hard for anyone to focus, especially children. Dental problems account for more than 51 million missed school hours in the United States. Missing a high number of school days can put children behind in their schoolwork and affect their future success.
Additionally, cavities are among the most common chronic diseases in school-age children. Untreated cavities can be extremely painful and lead to serious medical conditions, such as infection. Catching and treating cavities early helps keep teeth healthy and children pain-free.
Visiting the dentist twice year prevents dental problems that lead to missed school days. Getting in before school starts ensures that your children’s teeth will be sparkling and pain-free so that they can focus on what is important – their education.
Learn more about the importance of good oral health in children here.