As children are heading back to school, students and parents alike are looking forward to the much-anticipated school picture day. It’s fun to look at the photos through the years to see how a student is growing and changing as they get older. School picture day is a great opportunity to document the child’s appearance on a yearly basis.
Is your child ready for picture day? Not only do they need to choose an outfit and plan their hairstyle, but make sure they have a picture-perfect smile for the yearbook. Scheduling a dental visit can be an important step to protect the child’s teeth and gums, while also helping them optimize the overall appearance of their smile.
School Photos Will Never Be Perfect
As children are growing, it’s common to see changes to their smiles over the years. Some of the school photos will have gap-filled grins because of missing teeth. Then, as the child gets older, it’s possible that they might have some photos with braces or retainers.
Regardless of the teeth that are growing in or the use of orthodontics, these school photos capture the essence of every student in every stage. Never criticize the child’s smile or perceived flaws in their teeth. Instead, encourage them to love their appearance and have a big smile to share with everyone they meet.
A Dental Visit Before School Picture Day
Consider scheduling a dental examination before your child has school picture day. These visits should be happening twice a year for general checkups and cleanings. If your child is due for an appointment, then picture day can be a good reminder to get the checkup on the calendar.
Not only are dental checkups important to help the child have an appealing smile. But these visits are also essential for monitoring the child’s teeth and gums. If there are any potential issues, such as tooth decay or gum disease, then regular dental visits are the best way to identify these issues in the earliest stages.
Then, the dentist can recommend treatments as needed to stop the dental disease before it gets worse. Additionally, your dentist will recommend preventive treatments that can be considered, such as dental sealants, fluoride treatments, early orthodontics, and more. A proactive approach with dental health in the early years of life sets the child up for a healthy smile as an adult.
Common Oral Health Care Mistakes for Children
Even when parents are diligent about encouraging their children to brush regularly, there are different things that can be missed which might impact the child’s dental health. Here are some of the most common mistakes that can impact your child’s smile:
- Not Replacing the Toothbrush: Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3 – 4 months. Mark the calendar so you know when it’s time to replace your child’s toothbrush. Often, families maintain the same schedule so everyone switches their toothbrushes at the same time. Also, pay attention to the bristles on your child’s toothbrush. If you can see that the bristles are worn and frayed, then it is time to replace the toothbrush (regardless of how long they have been using that brush).
- Brushing Time: Not only is the recommendation to be consistent about brushing both morning and night, but the length of time also matters. According to the American Dental Association, the recommendation is to brush twice a day and each session should be two minutes in length. Consider putting a small kitchen timer in the bathroom so the kids can turn on the timer when they start brushing.
- Brushing, But Not Flossing: A consistent brushing routine is a great success! But it’s even better when flossing is also occurring. There are surfaces of the teeth that the brush can’t reach, which is why floss is necessary to reach between the teeth. Flossing can remove the plaque buildup in these crevices, helping to reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
- Skipping the Tongue: In addition to brushing and flossing, don’t forget to clean the tongue! Gentle brushing on the tongue can remove buildup and bacteria that can collect during the day.
Dental Visits to Learn Proper Oral Hygiene
In addition to checking for potential issues during a dental checkup, a dental visit is also a great time for the child to learn more about proper brushing techniques. For example, the office staff can teach the best pressure (not too hard!), as well as the motions and movements that can be used to reach all areas of the teeth.
As your child uses the right brushing technique, they can remove the plaque and buildup while protecting the enamel at the same time. Also, proper brushing and flossing is important to reduce the risk of damage to the gums. When brushing is too harsh or aggressive, it can potentially result in receding gums and result in a need for more intensive treatments in the future.
What to Expect at a Back-to-School Dental Visit
What should you expect when you schedule a dental visit for your child at the beginning of the school year? The truth is that these dental visits are the same as the rest. The only difference is that the school year is a good reminder to schedule the appointment.
It’s always a good time to schedule a regular dental visit for your child. The most important thing you can do is ensure that you are maintaining these appointments consistently. Some families find that the spring and fall seasons are the perfect times for dental visits because there aren’t as many schedule conflicts with holidays, family vacations, and other activities.
Also, a back-to-school dental visit is a great way to get back on track with oral health if brushing and flossing habits fell away during the summer. Since routines were different during the summer months, it can be a bit of a challenge to maintain these same routines. So, back-to-school is the perfect opportunity to recommit to the best health habits once again.
Call for Your Dental Visit
Our team is here to help with routine checkups, dental care, cosmetic treatments, and more. When you are ready to learn more, contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas.