The leaves are starting to change and the weather is turning brisk. But while these hallmarks of autumn may be charming to adults, they mean something very different for kids. It’s time to go back to school! In between shopping for a new backpack and picking up the right pencils and binders, there’s another back-to-school essential that parents should be sure their children get: Dental care.
A visit to the dentist may seem completely disconnected from buying new sneakers or the proper ruler for your child’s upcoming classes, but dental health is key not just to education, but to overall health.
Healthy Teeth Keep Kids in School
Have you ever had a toothache? If you have, you know that it can be incredibly distracting. Managing to stay focused with a throbbing pain in your mouth can be next to impossible. For kids, staying focused on algebra or the periodic table is hard enough already. Oral pain from problems like cavities or gum disease can make it harder for kids to stay on task at school. And if the problems get bad enough, they might not make it to algebra at all due to sick days or dental visits.
You want to ensure that your child is thinking about the value of x, not the dull ache of their top left molar. To ensure that, the best thing you can do is make an appointment for a cleaning and checkup before the school year gets too much into swing. There, your dentist can check for cavities, gauge their gum health, and give advice on how to improve at-home oral hygiene.
Speaking of at-home oral hygiene, it’s just as important for your child to be brushing and flossing daily as it is to see the dentist. Twice-annual cleanings can only do so much — some of the legwork has to be done at home. If your child isn’t on top of their oral hygiene during the summer, it’s only going to get worse when they’re swamped with homework.
Oral Health is Overall Health
Children’s oral health isn’t just about their teeth. In fact, the mouth can be a gateway to the body for a number of dangerous diseases and health issues. That’s why a huge part of maintaining your overall health is maintaining your oral health. This is no different in children than in adults, and it’s never too early to learn good health practices.
Studies have repeatedly linked poor oral health to asthma, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even degenerative cognitive diseases like dementia. Missing or damaged teeth can make it more difficult to get proper nutrition.
Your child doesn’t need to be worrying about these issues. And with proper preventive dental care, they won’t need to. Your dentist can treat decay, gum disease, and any other complaints that might keep your child from being able to focus on their studies. They’re building a future through their education — make sure poor oral health doesn’t put that future at risk.