The American Dental Association recommends that parents schedule dental exams for their kids as part of their back-to-school preparations.
1. Check teeth for signs of tooth decay. About twenty percent of kids have untreated tooth decay, according to the CDC, and this can lead to not just missed school but also problems with speech, eating, and pain.
2. Look for early signs of gum disease. Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, is extremely common and reversible with good dental hygiene and healthy habits.
3. Evaluate children for bite or spacing problems. Early intervention can help expand the jaw to ensure adequate spacing and minimize the need for later treatment.
4. Recommend appropriate preventive treatments. Preventive treatments such as fluoride and dental sealants can significantly reduce the risk of cavities and other dental problems, as well as reduce a child’s risk of pain and lost school time.
5. Work with children to develop healthy dental habits for life. Good dental hygiene habits like brushing and flossing are only part of the picture when it comes to healthy smiles. Kids also need to eat healthy diets, wear properly fitted mouthguards when participating in organized sports and cut back on sugary or starchy foods and drinks.