Your First-Day Smiles Check-Off List
- August 1, 2016
The clock is quickly winding down on summer vacation. The first day of the new school year is just around the corner.
By now, you may have received a supply list from your children’s school(s) so you can get a jump start on what they will need for the first day.
Some of the things you already know — pens, pencils, paper, notebooks. Older students may need a calculator, compass, and a protractor. You’ll probably spend some time (and money) looking for new outfits and backpacks, too.
Before homework takes over your free time, why not do something else to help your family get ready for the first day? Why not call Total Dental Care of South Carolina to schedule cleanings for your family?
Our dentist office is conveniently located in Columbia, SC, and we treat families from throughout Richland County.
Check It Off
While you are checking things off your children’s supply list, we thought we would give you a simple list related to your family’s oral health. With each item you cross off the list, you will know you are helping to preserve and protect their smiles.
According to the American Dental Association, everyone should brush his or her teeth twice each day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. To be effective, your toothbrush needs to be in good shape.
If a toothbrush is frayed or losing bristles, then it definitely needs to be replaced. A good guideline to follow is to replace your family’s toothbrushes every three or four months.
As a quick reminder, you should scrub your teeth for two minutes on all sides each time you brush. Children who are old enough to go to school are usually able to brush their own teeth. They should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride.
☐ Dental Floss or another interdental cleaner
To really keep your mouth free from cavities, you need to clean between your teeth and under your gumline, too. The best tool for this job is dental floss.
The good news is dental floss comes in countless varieties — with and without wax, with and without flavors, and in a variety of thickness. All of them are fine to use. Just find the one that works for your family.
There are other options if dental floss doesn’t work for you. Flossers (which have short handles) can make flossing more comfortable, and water flossers are another effective way to clean the spaces that toothbrushes can’t reach.
☐ Athletic Mouthguards
Sports are a big part of life for many families, and football season will be here before you know it.
However, the athletes who suit up on Friday nights are not the only ones who should be wearing athletic mouthguards. Any athlete who participates in high-impact sports should be taking steps to protect his or her jaw, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the ADA.
For the fall, this would include football players, volleyball players, and competitive cheerleaders. Collisions, frequent changes of direction, repeated jumping and landing, and potential injuries from equipment all can cause injuries to an athlete’s teeth or jaw.
The most effective way to protect your teeth is with a custom-fitted athletic mouthguard.
We can create one of these for your budding superstars at our office. Custom-fitted mouthguards provide better protection than the bulky boil-and-bite guards you can get a sporting goods store.
Custom-fitted mouthguards are more comfortable to wear, and they are less likely to interfere with communication between teammates.
☐ Fluoride Treatments
We mentioned fluoride toothpaste earlier, but we also recommend fluoride treatments. Fluoride is a mineral, and it has been called nature’s cavity fighter.
With fluoride is applied directly to a patient’s teeth, it can repair minor damage (so it doesn’t become a cavity), and it can strengthen the enamel (which makes cavities less likely).
If you are interested, it’s a service we can provide when you bring your children for a cleaning and examination.
☐ Dental Sealants
If your children always brush their teeth correctly and never eat sweets, then you probably don’t have to worry about this. For the rest of us, sealants provide an additional layer of protection against tooth decay — literally.
Sealants can be applied to the teeth in the back of your children’s mouths. As they set, the sealants create a barrier between the bacteria that cause cavities and the teeth that are most likely to develop cavities.
Sealants and fluoride are like a 1-2 punch that help to keep cavities away.
☐ Make An Appointment
You can find our dentist office at 1061 St. Andrew’s Road in Columbia.