Health

Back-to-school dental tips

Incisive Bite

by Dr Sharon Robinson

Sunday, August 26, 2018

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YOUR child may have the latest wardrobe, school supplies and sports equipment for the new school year, but does he or she have a healthy mouth and the tools needed to maintain it?

A dental examination is as important as immunisations and booster shots, and should be a regular part of back-to-school preparations. Statistics show that tooth decay affects children more than any other chronic infectious disease, and children between the ages of two to 19 years old have untreated tooth decay.

Dental pain or disease can lead to difficulty in eating, speaking, playing, and learning, as well as millions of hours of missed school.

Back-to-school checklist

Your child's back-to-school checklist should include:

• Regular dental examinations to diagnose and treat or prevent dental problems. Parents and teachers may not realise there's a dental problem, so regular check-ups are important. Your dentist may suggest fluoride treatments or sealants to prevent decay, and can diagnose and treat dental problems to save your child pain and lost school time.

• Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing. Look out for the dental care aisle when you're out shopping for notebooks, binders and pencils. If parents buy several toothbrushes they could have their child change to a new one every three months or so, or after an illness. If it's hard to remember when to change a brush, you could try to change it every time report cards come out. Ask your dentist for a recommendation on how often to change toothbrushes.

• Eating healthy lunches and snacks. Include portable healthy lunch items and snacks in your child's sack lunch, including grains, milk, cheese, raw vegetables, yogurt, or fruit. If your child eats in the school cafeteria, review healthy, balanced food choices with him before the first day of school. Cut back on sugary foods and soft drinks.

• Wearing a properly fitted mouthguard while participating in organised sports, physical education classes or playground activities.

Dr Sharon Robinson DDS has offices at the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa for an opportunity to take advantage of weekly specials.

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