So the school year’s snuck up on you and you’ve forgotten to schedule your kids’ dental visits. Don’t worry! Good oral care is an ongoing commitment and it’s not too late to get your children on the right path for this coming school year and the rest of their lives.
The first order of business is to schedule those checkups with Dr. Kirchner. Call our Jeffersonville, IN office at 812-913-6093 to make an appointment. We stay open until 5:00 PM Monday through Wednesday and open at 7:00 AM Thursday and Friday, so your kids won’t even have to miss valuable learning time.
Checkup Scheduled. Now What?
When your child comes in for his or her checkup, Dr. Kirchner will carefully examine the teeth and gums for signs of decay, bite issues, or any other problems. X-rays may be taken to check areas the doctor can’t see, like under the gumline. Then your kid’s teeth will be thoroughly cleaned, polished, and flossed.
Depending on your child’s teeth, age, and lifestyle, you may want to bring up a few other preventive issues with Dr. Kirchner.
Is your child involved with contact sports or other physical activities that could harm his or her mouth (including bike riding)? Even if the school or organization doesn’t require an athletic mouthguard, you should consider asking Dr. Kirchner to craft one to protect those vulnerable teeth and gums. While you can buy one-size-fits-all athletic mouthguards at some retail stores, Dr. Kirchner’s will be custom made to fit your child’s mouth. This ensures a far better and more comfortable fit, plus more effective protection.
Has your child had sealants applied to his or teeth? If not, you should be aware that this very simple and painless procedure has been shown to reduce the likelihood of decay by 80% in molars. The Centers for Disease Control says kids without sealants have, on average, far more cavities than kids with sealants.
A sealant is a thin plastic coating that physically prevents bacteria from reaching the tooth enamel. It’s typically used on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The process couldn’t be easier:
- The tooth is thoroughly cleaned and dried.
- An acidic solution is applied. This roughs up the surface of the enamel just enough to allow the sealant to adhere well.
- The tooth is dried again.
- The sealant is meticulously painted onto the teeth.
- A special light is used to harden the sealant.
Now, sealants are not a replacement for regular brushing and flossing. But they are an added layer of protection shown to have real benefits.
Fluoride is a mineral that helps keep teeth healthy and strong. It makes the enamel more able to resist the bacterial acid attacks that lead to tooth decay, and it helps to “remineralize” and strengthen weakened tooth enamel.
Fluoride can come from many sources, including fluoridated water, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Dr. Kirschner offers in-office fluoride treatments and varnishes to ensure your children’s teeth are getting the fluoride protection they need.
Get Into a Routine
Mornings can be hectic, with kids’ school schedules, parents’ work schedules, and making sure everyone gets out the door. That’s why it’s really important for kids to have a regular morning routine that includes a healthy breakfast and enough time to take care of their teeth. Letting oral hygiene fall through the cracks can have consequences for the rest of their lives!
- Kids should brush at least twice per day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Remember to change the brush every few months (or sooner, if the bristles become frayed).
- They should floss at least once per day.
- Kids should be supervised until they can brush without swallowing toothpaste.
- Encourage your kids to drink lots of water throughout the day. This helps keep the mouth fresh and clean between meals.
Nutrition Matters Too
When your kids are at school most of the day, it can be difficult to keep tabs on what they’re eating. You can, however, pack healthy lunches and make sure they are educated about how to make good choices.
- Sweet, chewy snacks (think soft granola bars, fruit roll-ups, and even raisins) are bad for the teeth. Fresh fruit, packed with teeth-boosting nutrients, is a much better snack choice.
- Discourage your kids from drinking sugary sodas, fruit juices, and flavored milk. Encourage them to drink water or white milk.
- Minimize crackers, chips, and other carb-heavy snacks. They have very little nutritional value and they break down into decay-causing sugars.
- If your child gets lunch at the school cafeteria, go over menus together so he or she learns how to make healthy choices.