An estimated 42% of children age 2-11 have had tooth decay in their baby teeth, and around 21% of kids age 6-11 have had cavities in their permanent teeth. Despite these statistics, cavities are completely preventable. One of the best tools for prevention is regular checkups, and since school just ended for the year, there’s no better time! Keep reading to find out how summer dental visits for your kids can help them avoid tooth decay and look forward to a lifetime of great dental health.
The Benefits of Summer Dental Visits
One of the biggest advantages of seeing a dentist during the summer is convenience. You don’t have to worry about your child missing class time and you’ll also have one more thing taken care of when it’s time for back-to-school.
Also, if anything needs to be addressed, you’ll have plenty of time to schedule it before the busy school year starts. That could be anything from putting sealants on your child’s back teeth (to prevent cavities) or making them a custom mouthguard to protect their teeth during sports.
Finally, it’s a great way to minimize the risk of potential problems flaring up during summer vacation or time away at camp. Dental emergencies are never fun, but that’s especially true when your child is away from home!
What Does a Checkup Include?
You may only think of checkups for kids as a chance for a dentist to check for cavities. That’s certainly an important part of it, but every aspect of your child’s oral health is evaluated at these visits. Here’s just some of what they include:
- Cleaning and polish – Even kids who do great with their brushing and flossing can’t remove all the plaque from their teeth. With a professional cleaning, their teeth and gums will stay healthier and look their best for the summer.
- Preventative measures – In dentistry, and especially at young ages, prevention is the name of the game. Your child will get a highly-effective fluoride treatment that strengthens their enamel and prevents cavities. And, as mentioned earlier, they’ll also be evaluated to see if they could benefit from sealants or a mouthguard.
- Oral hygiene tips – Many kids could use a few oral hygiene pointers from a dentist or hygienist. Whether it’s a simple “nudge” to brush twice a day or recommendations for tools that can help, hearing it from a professional can go a long way.
- Dietary counseling (as needed) – If your child is cavity-prone, a dentist will be able to pinpoint how their dietary habits (e.g. daily sodas or snacking throughout the day) may be contributing. Oftentimes small changes can make a big difference.
Simply put, scheduling a checkup and cleaning for your child is a wonderful way to get the summer off to a great start!
About the Author
Dr. Christine Coughlin is a general and children’s dentist and a graduate of the University of Southern California School of Dentistry. She loves working with patients of all ages and always encourages regular checkups from an early age to prevent problems from the start. If you have any questions about your child’s oral health or want to schedule a summer dental visit, she can be contacted via her website.