Back-to-School Dental Checkups
Summer can be a busy time. There are trips to take, fun summer camps to attend, and cookouts to enjoy—just to name a few of the summer pleasures keeping everyone happy during the break from school. It can be easy—during such busy days—to let things like dental checkups slide. Once the new school year begins, however, it’s time to focus on the necessities.
The beginning of the school year can be busy, too, but it’s important to keep up with your child’s dental care routine. If your child sees the dentist every six months, it becomes a habit—one your child will hopefully carry through adolescence and into their adult lives. Keep reading to learn more about some of the preventative care recommended by Huntington Beach pediatric dentist Dr. Beanca Children’s Dentistry to keep your child’s teeth healthy and their smile big and bright.
Daily Brushing and Flossing
The very best way to ensure your child’s teeth are healthy is to create a routine for daily brushing and flossing. While your child is small, it’s best that you brush their teeth for them. Small hands still working on fine motor skills may not be able to get to all parts of the mouth. Even if you have an independent-minded child who wants to do everything on their own, it’s wise to do a double check after your child brushes on their own.
By the time your child is between the ages of 6 to 8, they should gain the dexterity to thoroughly clean their teeth and floss between them. Brushing should, ideally, take place twice a day—in the morning after breakfast and in the evening before bed. If it helps, make this time a family affair. Put some music on for two minutes while everyone in the family gets their teeth clean.
Flossing can be tricky for kids, but it should be done as soon as a child has teeth that are next to each other. Brushing is great, but it is possible to miss food particles and bacteria between teeth. Floss your child’s teeth until they are able to successfully able to get in between their teeth on their own.
A Healthy Diet
There are so many yummy treats to be had in the summertime. From ice cream to s’mores to cotton candy at the fair, it’s hard sometimes for a kid to know where to start (and stop). Once school days kick back into gear, it can be easier to keep a child’s diet more balanced and healthier. And there are plenty of foods which are particularly good for your child’s teeth.
Start with foods rich in calcium. Calcium helps keep bones and teeth strong. Calcium can be found in milk, yogurt, and cheese. And don’t worry if your child is lactose intolerant—there are many foods that have been fortified with calcium but contain no dairy. These include foods such as juice, tofu, beans, and leafy green vegetables.
Crunchy raw vegetables are also great for the teeth. Not only do they have vitamins and minerals that are good for your child, but chewing on them actually helps clean your child’s teeth. Meat and fatty fish are also good for teeth. Chewing red meat produces saliva which helps to clean the bacteria from teeth, and fatty fish are loaded with phosphorus, which helps protect tooth enamel.
Don’t forget your child’s water bottle! Not only can drinking water help clean your child’s teeth, but water also contains fluoride, another invaluable tool for protecting tooth enamel. Make sure that you send your child to school with a healthy snack and lunch, and then provide healthy snacks and meals at home—your child’s teeth will flourish.
Your Child’s Checkup
Whether you schedule an appointment for your child right before school begins or wait until the first few weeks are under your child’s belt, there are several things you can expect at your child’s dental checkup.
A Thorough Dental Cleaning…
At each checkup your child attends, they will receive a thorough teeth cleaning. During this cleaning, any hardened plaque that has collected on your child’s teeth will be scraped off. They may enjoy the part where they get to pick out the flavor of the polish used to shine the surface of each tooth. A fluoride treatment may be recommended to further protect your child’s teeth against cavities.
…And a Thorough Exam
Each dental office may operate differently. In some offices, the cleaning may come before the exam, while in others, the exam may be first. Either way, there are common elements no matter when the exam takes place. Your pediatric dentist may start by taking some x-rays of your child’s teeth. Not only can these be used to spot any current problem areas, but over time, a series of x-rays can show the progress of your child’s teeth and how the baby teeth and adult teeth are positioned.
Next, the pediatric dentist will do a thorough check of the soft tissues of your child’s mouth. They will look for any abnormalities which may need to be addressed. Once that’s done, they will use a sharp instrument to check for cavities. This should not hurt—and the pediatric dentist will always explain what they are doing to avoid scaring your child.
If your child is aged 7 or older, your pediatric dentist may want to check to see if your child may require orthodontics—if there wasn’t already an indication that orthodontics may be necessary to resolve an issue with your child’s teeth or bite. (At Dr. Beanca Children’s Dentistry, we have our own orthodontist, Dr. Shawn Yu, right in the same office to offer whatever services your child may need.) If there are no issues to be found, your child will be reminded of all the things they can do at home to keep their teeth healthy and strong, and they’ll bid the dentist goodbye until their next checkup.
Ready for an Appointment?
Is a dental appointment for your child on your radar now that school has started again? Are you ready to get into a dental checkup groove, getting your child in every six months? Look no further than our Huntington Beach office. Give us a call today and schedule your appointment. Make this year’s school picture the best yet with a bright, healthy smile!