Proactive Dental Care Can Help Parents Can Greatly Reduce this Number
It’s that time of year. Children are eagerly decorating their lockers, parents are patiently waiting in the pick-up line, and everyone is sharing adorable pictures of the first day of classes on social media. Teachers and students alike are looking forward to a productive year of learning. However, lurking behind those sweet smiles is one of the biggest reasons children will be absent from the classroom this school year.
The American Dental Association (ADA) estimates 51 million school hours each year are missed due to dental disease. Among school-age children, tooth decay is the most common chronic illness. The good news is, it's almost entirely preventable. Dr. Holly Ellis of Ellis Dental offers suggestions for busy parents to help ensure these issues won't be the cause of their children missing important hours of learning this school year.
“Cavities are the number one chronic disease in children,” Ellis said. “Proactive, preventative dental checkups can help to alleviate or eliminate the majority of these absences.” Brushing and flossing twice a day should also be part of every child’s daily routine. “During the summer, schedules can get out of whack especially for children,” Ellis said. “The start of the school year provides an opportunity for everyone to get back on track.” Ellis recommends a routine dental exam include the following:
- Overall assessment of oral health - thorough examination of the gums, teeth, tongue and mouth.
- Tooth cleaning - Ellis advises children visit the dentist by age 1 or six months after their first tooth erupts. Ellis Dental offers free exams to all children under age 2.
- Possible X-rays - depending on when the last set of X-rays were taken.
- Mouth guard - if a child is planning on playing a contact sport, a mouth guard can prevent injury.
- Question and answer session - a time to ask any oral health questions the dentist or hygienist may not have covered.
More Than 51 Million School Hours Are Missed Each Year Due to Dental Disease
Parents should also consider the snacks and lunches their children are eating at school. Fresh foods such as fruit and vegetables always beat out processed food items. “If you're too busy to prepare lunch or snacks in the morning, one tip is to prepare healthful options the night before,” Ellis said. “Tooth friendly snack items include fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, pretzels, nuts, celery filled with peanut butter, and hard-boiled eggs.”
“Of course, sugary soft drinks are a huge culprit when it comes to cavities,” Ellis said. “Everyone has suggestions on alternatives to soda, but plain, old-fashioned water is hard to beat. If children want something with some fizz or flavor, adding a juice to seltzer water or club soda is a great alternative.”
About Ellis Dental
Founded in 2009 by Dr. Holly Ellis, Ellis Dental is an award-winning, state-of-the-art dental practice dedicated to providing more than 1,900 patients with comprehensive dental care that not only focuses on attaining their optimal oral health, but also incorporates their overall well-being. Ellis Dental serves patients of all ages, customizing all dental care to each individual patients’ needs. Ellis Dental is committed to using only the highest quality dental materials, operating best-in-class equipment and incorporating leading-edge techniques into every patient’s visit to ensure the best possible outcomes. More information is available at: ellisdental.com and Facebook.