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Back to School Dental Tips

Oral health and the overall well-being in Mississippi starts with our children. Tooth decay is the most common chronic condition among school-aged children, but it is also the easiest to detect and treat when caught early. Oral health examination is imperative for children across the state no matter what type of dental insurance you may have.

Neglecting your child’s dental health may cause an increase in missed school days. In a recent study published in The Journal of Public health founded that between 58-80 hours of school were missed from dental pain and toothaches between 100 students between the age of 5 and 17. Parents of those students missed an average of 2.5 workdays due to taking their child to their dentist for emergency dentistry.

What are the Benefits of Good Oral Health?

  • Better grades

  • Helps prevent gum disease and cavities

  • Improved concentration due to less mouth pain

What We Recommend:

Schedule a Dental Checkup Twice a Year:

As you are preparing to send your child back to school, do not forget to schedule a preventative care visit with your dentist. Scheduling your child’s dental visits prior to the start of the school year helps to keep your reserved time. During your visit at Oxford Dental, expect your dentist to look for cavities, decay and discolored teeth, check your child’s mouth for jaw and tooth growth and perform a thorough cleaning and polishing.

Teaching Your Child to Brush, Floss and Rinse:

Until your child reaches the age of 8, monitor his or her oral hygiene habits and teach them to brush their teeth and rinse with mouthwash twice a day. There is also a great toothbrush from Sonicare with an interactive app to help ensure proper brushing techniques. (We sell the Sonicare Kids toothbrush in our office at the same price as Amazon). To help with brushing, setting a 2-minute timer is also beneficial.

In addition to brushing and rinsing, you should teach your child how to floss. This can be accomplished by you flossing your teeth in front of your child and then helping them floss their teeth until they understand the process.

Check Your Child’s Teeth:

Many parents do not regularly check their children’s teeth for discoloration, plaque buildup and stains. If you notice any abnormalities such as red or swollen gums, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Limit Your Child’s Intake of Sweets:

Sticky and sugary candies that are left in the mouth automatically increase the levels of harmful acids, and it can take as long as 20 minutes for the saliva to neutralize those acids. If your child eats these types of candies multiple times a day, they are increasing their risk for cavities. Instead of candy or sugary treats, plan for healthy desserts and snacks, including fresh fruits and nuts.

If you plan to give your child candy or sweets, do so after a meal. The previous food eaten provides some protection against the sugar. Afterwards, instruct your child to go brush his or her teeth to remove the food particles and sugar.

Fluoride Treatments and Sealants:

Fluoride is typically added to city drinking water and toothpastes to help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities and tooth decay. In the state of Mississippi, multiple towns do not have fluoride in their water. This is why received Fluoride treatment at your dentist is imperative for preventative health. Fluoride is placed on the teeth, usually in the form of a gel. When the mouth becomes acidic, the gel releases fluoride to help protect the teeth against cavity causing bacteria.

In addition to fluoride treatments, our dentists can apply a sealant to your child’s teeth. The sealant seals the grooves and dips in the teeth, preventing plaque and bacteria from colonizing and creating decay and cavities.

How to Handle Dental Emergencies if One Occurs:

There may come a day where your child will encounter a dental emergency, and this is why Oxford Dental has an Emergency Dental line after hours and on weekends. (662)234-5222.

Teeth can get knocked out or cracked due to falls or rough play, and we see it all too often!

If your child accidentally knocks out his or her tooth, carefully pick up the tooth without touching the root. The primary concern is keeping the tooth moist. This can be accomplished by temporarily putting the tooth back in its socket or placing it between your child’s check and gum while on your way to your dentist. If neither of those options are feasible, pour a small glass of milk and place the tooth in the glass.

If your child cracks a tooth, have your child rinse with a glass of warm water. This will clean the tooth and remove any debris in the mouth. Place a cold cloth against your child’s cheek to stop any swelling or inflammation and call your dentist for further care instructions.

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