Did you know that poor oral health can affect your kid’s school attendance and performance?
A total of 1049 school days were missed by the 2120 children for any reason related to dental care, an average of 0.49 days per child. Of these missed days, 182 (17.3%) were the result of dental pain or infection. (1)
Benefits of Good Oral Health for Children and Adults
Missing work and school due to toothache from a cavity or other preventable dental infection is not something anyone wants to experience.
Did you know that dental infection is one of the most difficult pain to endure? Just like our overall physical health, we need to take great care of our oral health to thrive at school and at work.
1. Schedule a Dental Appointment at Least Twice a Year
As the school year starts, don’t forget to schedule a dental appointment with your family dentist.
Scheduling your child’s dental visits prior to the start of the school year will make sure that you do not forget to reserve the appointment. Even if the school has started already, please make a point of having your child to have a dental check-up.
During the visit, you can expect your dentist to check for cavities, check your child’s mouth for jaw growth and adult teeth eruptions. Your child then can have professional cleaning and learn how to care for his/her own teeth.
For Adults, twice a year checkup can go a long way. We could catch any dental problems at an early stage and keep the cost down, not to mention about avoiding any pain. Dental disease starts are silently and when it becomes serious, it can be very painful and costly to treat.
2. Teaching Your Child to Brush, Floss, and Rinse
Until your child can perform good oral hygiene, check his or her oral hygiene habits and teach them to brush their teeth and rinse with water. This should be done twice a day after breakfast and before going to bed.
Using technology to help with brushing, you can set a timer for two minutes or download a cell phone application that helps encourage children to brush their teeth.
In addition to brushing and rinsing, you should practice your child how to floss. This is especially crucial when the teeth are contacting and have no more space. You need to floss your teeth in front of your child and then help them floss their teeth until they understand the process.
Adults also must brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. This practice will likely to maintain your dental health until the next check-up.
3. Go for Healthy Snacks
Sticky and sugary snacks that are left in the mouth automatically increase the levels of harmful acids, and it can take more than 20 minutes for the saliva to bring the acidity down. However, the 20 minutes of frequent acidic environment due to sugar, encouraging the bacteria to feed on it is a fast way to have rampant tooth decay in children.
Also even in crackers, granola bars and cereals all stick on the teeth and do not get washed away. Since they are complex carbohydrates that break down to a lot of simple sugar, they can be a dangerous source of tooth decay if they do not get removed
Then what are the healthy snacks? Crunch, watery and fresh vegetables and some fruits. Celery, cucumbers, carrots, and apples are the best. Do not offer the kids dried fruits as they are worse than hard candy. (dried fruits will stick on the teeth and produce acid and sugar for long periods of time) Nuts and cheese are also an excellent option if the child is not allergic to these. Do not offer any other drinks but water.
If you plan to give your child candy or sweets, it’s best to do it after a meal. Then make a point to have them rinse with water or chew xylitol gum if they are old enough.
4. Regularly Check Your Child’s Teeth and your teeth
Please do regularly check their children’s teeth for discoloration, plaque buildup, and stains. These conditions may be nothing but it may be a good idea to have it checked.
These are the early signs of cavities and mouth pain. If you notice any abnormalities with your toddler’s teeth or red or swollen gums, schedule an appointment with your nearest dentist for a checkup and cleaning. For adults, similar rules apply.
When you see the abnormal conditions, contact your dentist for evaluation. Waiting until it becomes painful and having to call in a sick day due to toothache or infection is not productive.
1 Impact of Poor Oral Health on Children’s School Attendance and Performance. Stephanie L. Jackson, DDS, MS,corresponding author William F. Vann, Jr, DMD, PhD, Jonathan B. Kotch, MD, MPH, Bhavna T. Pahel, PhD, MPH, BDS, and Jessica Y. Lee, DDS, PhD, MPH Am J Public Health. 2011 October; 101(10): 1900–1906.