Back To School: Dental Checkups
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, more than half of all children in the US aged 5-9 years old have at least one cavity or filling. This makes tooth decay the #1 most common chronic childhood disease.
Tooth decay or cavities form when bacteria in the mouth combines with sugary substances from foods and drinks. If these substances are left on the teeth for more than 20 minutes, bacteria in the mouth begins to produce acids known as plaque. Plaque accumulates on teeth and the acid wears through the tooth enamel causing cavities.
Making a dental check-up part of a child’s back-to-school routine will help prevent tooth decay and other dental problems.
A dental checkup usually consists of an examination of the teeth, gums and mouth. A cleaning of the teeth is performed to remove any plaque buildup and a topical flouride is applied to teeth to protect them against decay. A Dental Sealant, which is a tooth-colored acrylic “coating,” may be applied to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone back teeth. Upon examination the dentist may determine that X – rays should be taken to check for hidden decay and to monitor the progress of the permanent teeth under the gums.
Tooth decay can be serious enough to result in concentration problems in school and school absences. Other dental problems can create issues around proper eating and speaking. In fact, more than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness.
The Back-To-School season is just around the corner. Making an appointment for a back to school dental checkup, eating healthy and following a good oral hygiene plan can eliminate tooth decay and dental problems for your school age child.