A study conducted by the North Carolina Child Health Assessment and Monitoring Program examined risk factors for poor school performance. Oral health status ranked among the top factors. Children with poor oral health were three times as likely to miss school due to dental pain, and absences from dental pain were linked to poor school performance.
According to the CDC, by age 8, over half of children have had a cavity in their primary teeth, and 34.4 million hours of school were lost due to dental emergencies.
Pediatric dentist Dr. Milca Mendez-Ceballos offers some back-to-school tips to help keep kids in class instead of in the dental chair.
- Avoid breakfast foods high in sugar. A nutritious breakfast fuels your child’s mind and body and promotes oral health.
- Steer clear of sugary snacks or drinks in your child’s lunchbox. Opt instead for fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, and yogurt. Encourage your child to sip water throughout the day. It helps rinse away food particles which aids in preventing tooth decay.
- Regular dental check-ups are crucial for maintaining oral health. Prioritize dental care to help avoid unexpected dental emergencies.
- Consistency is key. Establish a daily oral hygiene routine—make it fun with reward charts or two-minute songs! Encourage brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and daily flossing.
Getting kids to floss regularly can be challenging. That’s why Dr. Mendez-Ceballos recommends introducing innovative tools, such as the Slate Flosser.
“It can reach the plaque that kids may struggle to reach,” she said. “If your child has braces, Slate has specific ortho heads that navigate around the wires and brackets more easily than traditional floss.”
The electric flosser combines high-grade floss with 12,000 sonic vibrations per minute, while the Gum Sweeps remove plaque and bacteria between gums and teeth. It not only flosses teeth, but also stimulates gums and cleans the tongue for a complete oral care experience.
“It’s a good idea to consult with a pediatric dentist before introducing new oral hygiene products, but the main advantage of Slate’s flosser is that it’s generally easier for children to use compared to traditional floss,” said Mendez-Ceballos. “Plus, it makes flossing fun!”