Backpack? Check. Booster shots? Check. Teeth cleaning? Check!

Regular dental visits are important year-round, but a back-to-school checkup is key in fighting the most common chronic disease found in school-age children: cavities. In fact, dental disease causes children to miss more than 51 million school hours each year. Prevention and early detection can help avoid pain, trouble eating, difficulty speaking and school absences. Here are some tips:

Encourage Age-Appropriate Dental Habits at Home

The best kind of checkup is a cavity-free checkup. Moms and dads can help make this happen by encouraging kids to brush twice a day for two minutes and floss once a day.

Ages 6 and Under

At this age, your child might want to do all the brushing herself but doesn’t have the fine motor skills needed to do a thorough job. Let them start and you can jump in when needed. During that age, the mouth is changing so much that children who are 5 or 6 are often brushing their teeth in the way they were when they were 2 or 3 years old. They’re not accommodating the new molars, and they’re not accommodating the fact that the mouth is growing.”

Ages 7-12

By now, your child knows what to do, he just might not want to do it! Keep encouraging healthy brushing and flossing habits. Be aware of the fact that sometimes you have to take over! Early intervention can make a huge difference in their long-term dental health.

Ages 12-18

Research says that when cavities appear in kids, it tends to be in young kids. But another key time is the teenage years and early adulthood. Part of this has to do with the fact that teenagers may have gone for many years and never had a cavity. Don’t let your teen’s habits become out of sight, out of mind. The behaviors of the teenager are going to translate into the 20-year-old. Remind them to brush, buy them the new, latest and greatest electric toothbrush, discuss the cosmetic aspects as well as the health benefits of good oral health.

Back To School is a fabulous opportunity to remind our children as well as ourselves of the importance of consistent and excellent oral care.

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