August 6, 2023
With a new school year underway, you probably don’t expect a dental emergency to interrupt your child’s learning experience, but accidents can happen. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 51 million school hours are lost annually from dental issues. Here are 5 tips to safeguard your little one’s smile to ensure a dental emergency doesn’t keep them out of the classroom.
1. Promote Good Oral Hygiene
1 in 6 Americans experience a dental emergency annually. Many are the result of untreated oral health issues, like tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 20% of children 5-11 years of age have at least one untreated cavity.
Good oral hygiene will keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy. Encourage them to brush their teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Around the age of 6, they should begin flossing their teeth every day to remove the buildup missed by their toothbrush.
2. Limit Sugars and Starches
Sugars and starches feed cavity-causing bacteria. It’s best to limit their consumption to prevent tooth decay. Instead, include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in their lunchbox. It will keep their teeth strong and healthy to keep toothaches at bay.
3. Encourage Drinking Tap Water
Tap water contains fluoride, which is nature’s cavity fighter. It strengthens enamel to make it more resistant to decay. Encourage your child to drink plenty of tap water to stay hydrated, which will also keep their mouth moist to combat harmful oral bacteria.
4. Invest in an Athletic Mouthguard
If your child will be playing sports during an upcoming season, invest in an athletic mouthguard.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 600,000 people visit emergency rooms annually for sports-related dental injuries. An athletic mouthguard will provide a protective barrier to prevent chipped or knocked-out teeth if there’s an injury to their mouth. It will also lessen the risk of jaw injuries and concussions.
5. Schedule a Cleaning and Checkup
You can ensure your child starts the school year with a healthy smile by scheduling a cleaning and checkup. Their dental hygienists will remove any plaque or tartar buildup and polish their teeth, so they look their best. They will also examine their mouth to look for anything concerning that requires treatment, like cavities or infections.
Although you can’t always stop dental emergencies from occurring, there are many steps you can take to lower your child’s risk.
About Dr. James T. Sierra
Dr. Sierra earned his dental degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and has regularly continued his education in various specialties, like dental implants, restorative dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry. He is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Request an appointment through his website or call (281) 819-5729.
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