Your Back to School Dental Education

Your Back to School Dental Education

Dr. Matt Artho

Dr. Matt Artho is a practicing dentist and the owner of Country Lakes Family Dental

It’s back to school for all those little kiddos, and I always get a kick out of the responses I get when conversing with my pediatric patients about their day at school. From what I have gathered over the years, the overwhelming favorite subject is “lunch”, the favorite game played at recess is “I don’t know”, and the most common newly learned topic for the day is “nothing”. With this amount of enthusiasm, I am always pleased to remind them how nice it is of their dentist to get them out of school.

Joking aside, back to school is a good time to remind us all of the importance of education. The single most important aspect of my role as your dentist is to educate you on oral health. So here are a few quick dental education points that I most frequently explain:

At what age should your child start dental appointments?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children seeing their dentist as early as one year old or at the sign of their first tooth. This is not only important to get a baseline on the child’s dental development, but also to educate parents on good oral hygiene and nutritional habits as a preventative measure against tooth decay.

Why is it important to floss?
The easy answer to this is to prevent gum disease. In around 14 hours after brushing, bacteria in the mouth can start as a biofilm along the gumline and ultimately inflame the gums causing gingivitis. Progressive infiltration and hardening of bacteria beneath the gumline results in periodontal disease in which subgingival bacteria causes inflammation that results in the loss of the bone around teeth that cannot be restored. Simple flossing once a day to remove the initial biofilm will prevent this cascade of events.

What kind of toothpaste should I use?
Toothpaste acts as a lubricant to break up bacteria that attaches to your enamel. It also lowers the acidity which prevents bacteria from proliferating. A good toothpaste is one that is not too abrasive, but still helps to remove plaque. Toothpaste with fluoride will help build enamel in areas that have demineralized from plaque and acid.

How often should I see my dentist?
This is actually answered on an individual basis. Depending on your oral health, the recommended 6 month cleanings may not be sufficient. Some patients require 3 or 4 month recalls to maintain good oral health. The best way to determine your optimal visits is to ask your dentist.

Enjoy these tidbits of education as you get the school year started. Enjoy all that learning and happy smiling!

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