The importance of adolescent dental care doesn’t stop once your children are done with junior high and high school. The transition from teenager to young adult is fraught with more than a few challenges to optimal dental health.
Dr. Kami Hoss, founder of The Super Dentists and Howard Healthcare Academy & Acceledontics, recently conducted a study that shows some surprising data about children’s oral health.
Dental Health and Your Child’s Education
Let’s take a look at some key statistics about how school-age children are impacted by oral health and what parents can do to promote healthy self-care protocols into adulthood and beyond.
Do oral health issues impact your child’s school attendance and academic performance?
Regular school attendance is imperative for a positive academic experience, and poor oral health can have a detrimental impact on children’s attendance. In the US, 51 million school hours are missed because of oral health issues. In our survey, nearly 7% of parents affirmed that oral health impacts school attendance. Children with poor oral health suffer from pain, lack of nutrition when they can’t eat nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, lack of sleep and lack of focus. Poor oral health can also contribute to physical illnesses; it’s clear that good oral health care is one of the building blocks of a healthy, productive childhood!
Dental Screening Requirements
Not all states require dental screenings prior to starting school. Most states do NOT require a dental screening exam; only 14 states currently have the requirement in place.
From the parents we surveyed, 14% cited their children had not received an oral health screening exam before starting school. Even if your state doesn’t require a school screening, Dr. Hoss recommends a dental visit before starting school. This checkup is covered by most insurance plans and can be done as part of the child’s regular visit.
Creating Your Child’s Oral Health Routine
While nearly half of parents (46%) surveyed understand the importance of early childhood dental care, these sentiments don’t always translate to healthy oral health care habits for their children later on. More than 10% of parents we asked said their child doesn’t even brush their teeth once per day. Only 17% confirmed their children are brushing twice daily.
Flossing had similarly mixed results. More than half (53%) said their children don’t floss on a regular basis. Here are some recommendations for the best possible pediatric dental care.
The Best Dental Care Routine for Your Child
For your child’s first-ever trip to the dentist, it’s a good idea to schedule the first visit when the first tooth appears. If the first tooth hasn’t shown by 12 months, have your child see the dentist.
The appearance of that first tooth is important in another key element of pediatric dental care. It’s when you should start teaching your child how to brush their teeth. Lead by example and make it fun. Before you know it, tooth brushing will be a regular part of their bedtime routine!
In terms of frequency, brush at least twice each day for up to two minutes. Make sure to use a safe toothpaste and tell your child not to swallow the toothpaste – a real challenge for children younger than 2 years old.
While they’re getting used to brushing, go ahead and introduce flossing. It’s recommended you floss with your child each night before bed. Point out that floss reaches places that toothbrushes simply can’t reach. Make sure they use extra care and caution along the gumline to prevent bleeding.
Choosing Your Child’s Pediatric Dentist
Given all this data from our extensive survey, it’s clear that choosing the right pediatric dentist goes a long way to ensure optimal oral health. So what do parents look for in a pediatric dentist?
Half of respondents said the most important factor is insurance acceptance. Other popular responses included:
- Friendly communication (44% of respondents)
- Comprehensive family care included (32% of respondents)
- Pediatric specialty services (29% of respondents)
- Minimal wait times (28% of respondents)
- Cutting-edge technology (26% of respondents)
- Payment plans for out-of-pocket premiums (24% of respondents)
- Positive reviews/community feedback (23% of respondents)
Dr. Kami Hoss, founder of The Super Dentists, Howard Healthcare Academy & Acceledontics, is one of the foremost experts on pediatric dental and orthodontic care. Dr. Hoss’s website is a comprehensive resource of oral healthcare knowledge, interviews and articles, social media posts, and everything else you’d like to know about oral healthcare. As Dr. Hoss’s above study and statistics shows, he is keenly aware of the strong links between oral healthcare and overall well being.
As a result of this considerable knowledge and expertise, Dr. Hoss’s new book calls for more collaboration between medical and dental care experts to promote optimal whole-body health. If Your Mouth Could Talk, scheduled to print in 2021, will connect the dots between teeth & gum health with overall wellbeing to foster a more all-inclusive approach to patient care.
The book has received advanced praise from some of the leading figures in medical and oral healthcare, and is one of the most anticipated releases of 2021. To receive a notification when If Your Mouth Could Talk hits bookstores, register with our website. You’ll also receive a FREE copy of Dr. Hoss’s report, “The Surprising Link Between Oral Health and COVID-19” when you sign up today.
Read more about what parents may not know about their children’s dental health in the first part of this series- Getting Started.
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