The Dental Check-up might seem a very small part of the “Back to School” effort. However, The  Back-to-Sschool Dental Check-up has become the personal Crusade of AAPD President Dr. Joeseph Castellano.  Dental check-up schedules must not fall to the wayside, no matter how intense the busy fall becomes.

Learning to brush is part of a pre-schooler's check-up.

Learn how to brush at your Dental Check-up.

Fall and back-to-school events mark new dental and oral challenges for each age-group among our children. Parents must take the dental check-up seriously in order to deal with potential oral problems which could haunt a child’s health in later years.

Here’s a point parents often miss:  Such problems can affect children’s oral health and school performance now. Then, oral problems now can be reflected in general health issues in the future.

On a Mission for the Value of the Back-to-School Dental Check-up

Recently Dr. Joseph Castellano focused sharply on back-to-school dental appointments for three groups:  parents, all ages of children and educators.

Dr. Joseph Castellano is the president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).  On August 14th, he acknowledged   that this “time frame is often hectic for parents, their children, and dental practices.

That being said, Dr. Castellano does not want parents to neglect the duty of the back-to-school dental exam.  Dr. Castellano reminded us that this is the time we need to “remind patients, and their parents to focus on their oral healthcare.”

The Back-to-School Check-ups and Health Challenges In the Spotlight:  Contagious Diseases and Sports Accidents

The start of school means closer contact with other children and the possibility of contagious diseases. Flu season is rearing its ugly head.  And it also means the beginning of contact sports.  Sports can lead to accidental injuries including broken, loose or even missing teeth. If your child is engaged in sports, this is the time to have a discussion with your dentist about a properly fitting, professionally created mouth-guard.

The Back To School Check-up:  Seeing The Connection between Oral Health and Overall Health

Studies have shown that “poor oral health can lead to poor overall health and poor performance in school.”According to the Mayo Clinic, some adult diseases can be related to oral hygiene.  The mouth is “teeming with bacteria.”  Good dental hygiene keeps this bacteria under control, so it can’t run unchecked, sometimes straight to your heart.

Without proper childhood oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead from oral infections, tooth decay, and gum disease, to heart disease in later years. Read below to discover how.  The age of a child matters and your dentist will check for different issues at every age.  Additionally, Mayo Clinic reports that more serious diseases can be related to poor hygiene.  “Oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis — a severe form of gum disease — and it also might play a role in some diseases.” A check-up can catch conditions early before they jeopardize school attendance and performance.

Diseases or Conditions with Possible Connection to Oral Health:  Block These With Good Oral Health Patterns in the Early Years.

Some diseases have been shown to have a possible connection to oral health conditions.  Two examples of these are Endocarditis and Cardiovascular disease. Granted these are not conditions that we expect to see in school-age children.

A Check-up ensures they brush correctly.

Brushing fun for Brother and Sister happens at any age.

But oral care is a life-long commitment.  And what we teach our children now can affect their future.  Thus is the case of oral hygiene.  So let’s leave the following conditions out of their future:

  • Endocarditis is “an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium).  Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.”
  • Therefore, our Back-to-School Dental Checkup and careful learning of good oral habits can profoundly affect your heart in the future.
  • Cardiovascular Disease has been suggested by some studies to be linked to inflammations and infections that can be caused by oral bacteria.” Likewise, more and more studies are linking cardiovascular disease with oral bacteria.

The Check-up for the Tiniest Back-to-School Students:  Pre-School, Kindergarten and First Grade

For preschool children, you have numerous topics to discuss.You may remember in an earlier blog such topics as brushing non-teeth, don’t lick that spoon and a ritual schedule of cleaning.  These are only a few of the topics that may be of

A Dental Check-up is an important part of your child's health routine.

Mom helps build baby’s trust at dental check-up.

concern with your toddler.  You can review these topics at this link.

  1. Ensure toddlers are brushing their teeth twice a day.  It may be difficult to enforce.  But they should brush for about two minutes.
  2. Caution: Avoid using large amounts of toothpaste on the Tooth brush. And avoid placing toothpaste several times during the same brushing session.  A pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste should be used until the child is about 6 years old.
  3. This may also the time to start talking to your child about sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. Let them know that they can be harmful to their teeth.  The lesson may not have much effect at this time.  But at least it’s a start.
  4. Also talk to your child about habits that involve thumbs, fingers and pacifiers. Pediatric dentist can help with the quitting process if their children cannot do so on their own.

This wraps up your check list for your youngest school child’s Back-to-School dental check-up.  Thank you for reading the blog at Dentistry for Children.  We will discover more of Dr. Castellano’s dental check -up lists for parents for older brothers and sisters in our next blog.