Making Back-To-School Checkups Stress-Free
As we come to the end of National Children’s Dental Health Month, our goal is to reinforce the importance of routine exams, which are often required by your child’s school district before starting the academic year. These back-to-school visits are crucial for prevention and early detection of cavities, which will help your child avoid pain and school absences for dental appointments. In fact, dental diseases cause children to miss over 50 million hours of school annually!
To prepare for the back-to-school visit, follow some of the tips below:
- Plan ahead: It’s never too early to schedule a back-to-school appointment, especially since spots fill up quickly in August. Make sure you have finalized dates for any vacations, camps, and summer programs so you can schedule early and avoid the August rush.
- Encourage dental health at home: This will vary by age group. For children age 6 and under, exercise supervision and make sure they are brushing all their teeth. Though you child may seem eager to brush independently, it is important to step in if necessary, as this age group has rapid changes in tooth eruption. For ages 7-12, the key is monitoring their brushing habits. At this age, children know what they have to do to take care of their teeth and gums, but they might not want to keep up with it. Reminders to brush and floss twice a day will keep elementary schoolers on track. For ages 12 and up, this is a critical time in dental health. Cavities tend to appear in young kids and during teenage years, the reason being that teenagers have gone many years without cavities and let loose on their dental habits. Reinforce your teen’s habits, since they will most likely translate to how they will maintain oral health into their 20s and beyond.
- Time it right: make sure your child’s appointment is not during their regular nap time to avoid crankiness. For older children, try to avoid scheduling appointments after a long day of school or camp, as they can be exhausted and less likely to cooperate during an exam.
- Stay calm and your child will follow: kids pick up on their parent’s anxiety, especially if they have had previous dental phobia, Keep your child calm by assuring them that the dentist will take care of them and can answer any of their questions.
- Work as a team with the dentist: let the dentist lead the conversation and jump in when you think it will help the most. This is to allow the dentist to build a good relationship with your child.