A new school year is here. As your child heads back to the classroom, you expect a few cases of the sniffles, but you may not anticipate a dental emergency. Believe it or not, 1 in 6 Americans experiences a dental emergency every year, and children aren’t an exception. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 51 million hours of school are missed annually because of dental problems. Your little one doesn’t have to miss time in the classroom. Here are 4 tips to protect their smile from dental emergencies.
1. Schedule a Cleaning and Checkup
Not all dental emergencies result from injuries. Many are caused by untreated dental problems, like tooth decay. A cleaning and checkup will ensure there isn’t anything concerning hiding in your little one’s mouth. Their dentist will make sure their teeth and gums are healthy. They’ll provide the quick care they need to prevent a small issue from turning into a big problem.
2. Invest in an Athletic Mouthguard
If your child will be participating in sports, invest in an athletic mouthguard. According to the American Dental Assistants Association, 15 million Americans experience a sports-related dental emergency each year. A mouthguard is a simple solution to protect their teeth, gums, and oral structures from injuries. Research has shown that it can even reduce the severity of concussions. You can ensure their smile is protected from their favorite activities with a mouthguard.
3. Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks
As you pack your child’s lunch for the day, skip any sugary foods or drinks to combat cavities. Although they are preventable, 20% of children between the ages of 5 to 11 have untreated tooth decay. Cavities are more common than childhood asthma. You just keep tooth decay at bay by packing nutritious foods in their lunchbox, like fresh fruits and vegetables.
4. Encourage Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene from an early age sets the foundation for healthy habits that can last for a lifetime. Encourage your child to brush their teeth for at least 2 minutes twice daily. Around the age of 6, introduce daily flossing to clean between their teeth. Giving their teeth and gums the attention they need will ensure their smile will stay healthy and beautiful throughout the school year.
The new school year doesn’t have to leave a lasting mark on your child’s dental health. They will spend more time focusing on their academics with a commitment to good oral hygiene habits.
About Dr. Amy Hong
Dr. Hong earned her dental degree from the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and has regularly continued her education in many specialties, including general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. She is affiliated with several professional organizations, like the American Dental Association and the Maryland Dental Association. If your child needs a cleaning and checkup, request an appointment online or call (301) 900-2808.