If there’s something that most children like less than going to school, it’s most likely going to the dentist. Yet just over 30% of U.S. parents said their children – who are between the ages of 6 and 12 – missed school last year due to an oral health issue.
But according to dentist Columbia Dr. Gregory Wych, by encouraging good dental health habits at home, parents can prevent these absences, and children can avoid a lot of pain. Children should be taught to brush all surfaces of their teeth twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste. They also should brush gently for about 2 minutes, paying special attention to the gum line and floss at least once a day.
There seems to be a connection between these dental health habits and school absences. Sixty percent of parents who reported no absences from school also said their children brushed more than once a day, and about one-third said their children flossed more than once a day.
Diet also plays a major role in good dental health. Your dentist Columbia advises patients to limit sugary snacks and high-starch or refined carbohydrate foods, such as chips, pretzels, cookies, breads, and dried fruits, such as raisins. The bacteria that causes tooth decay thrives on simple sugars, especially those found in sticky foods and treats.
Fruit juice and other sweet and sugary drinks should be limited to mealtimes. Between meals – and especially at bedtime – children should be encouraged to drink plenty of water to keep them hydrated and help combat tooth decay.
Of course, parents should schedule two checkups a year for their children so your dentist Columbia can identify any current or potential dental health problems before they worsen. Tooth decay – which is largely preventable – is five times as common as asthma and seven times as common as hay fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In fact, over 60% of the parents who reported that their children had no absences from school due to dental issues said they had scheduled proactive visits to the dentist in the past year, while just 5% of parents who reported 3 or more absences reported such visits.
When is the last time your child has been to our office? If it’s been more than six months – don’t hesitate – schedule a proactive visit today with your dentist Columbia Dr. Gregory Wych to catch any problems before they worsen!