As parents and kids gear up for a new school year, a trip to the dentist should be on everyone's back-to-school checklist, according to dentists from Kool Smiles, a children's dental provider expanding access to quality, affordable dental care in underserved communities nationwide.
"Add the dental check-up to the back-to-school checklist," said Dr. D Ray Gifford, Managing Dental Director at Kool Smiles. "Good dental health is closely linked to academic success, and a back-to-school dental checkup provides an opportunity to review brushing and flossing best practices, as well as identify any potential dental health problems that can be addressed before the school year starts."
Children with poor dental health can face serious setbacks at school, including pain that can lead to difficulty eating, sleeping and concentrating; poor nutrition; low self-esteem; and other health problems. Several studies have demonstrated the link between poor dental health and low grade point averages and nearly three times more missed days at school due to dental problems. Over 51 million school hours are lost every year due to tooth decay, and parents miss an average of 2.5 days of work per year to care for kids with dental problems.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visiting the dentist regularly to maintain oral health, noting that even those with a low-risk profile should have at least one dental visit per year.
While tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, it is also one of the most treatable - simply by following preventive measures like scheduling dental checkups every six months, avoiding cavity-causing foods, and regular brushing and flossing.
"The healthier kids are, the better they do in school," said Dr. Gifford. "Add a travel toothbrush and toothpaste to your child's backpack and encourage them to brush after lunch. A healthy smile makes a happy student and that's a win for children, teachers and parents."
In between regular dental checkups, Kool smiles encourages an easy-to-remember 3-2-1 routine for children and families:
- 3) Eat 3 healthy meals a day
- 2) Brush 2 times each day (morning and night)
- 1) Floss at least once every day for healthy teeth
"Remember, brushing plus flossing equals good dental health," said Dr. Gifford. "Make sure your child gets an A+ in dental hygiene year round."
Source: Kool Smiles