Photo (When Young Children “Hate” School) by wecometolearn from Flickr (Creative Commons License)
We want our children to do well in school. Did you know that making sure your children get regular dental visits can actually improve their school performance? You can help them with their homework. You can drill them on their math facts. But, if they’re in pain, they won’t do well regardless of such commendable efforts.
According to the NIH (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Health), 42% of children under the age of 11 have tooth decay. 23% of those children have untreated decay. It’s mighty hard to concentrate when you’ve got a toothache.
Imagine sitting at a desk all day, while in pain, trying to concentrate on something you’re likely not interested in anyway. Think you’ll get it? Not likely. And, because lessons build on one another, once they fall behind, it gets harder and harder to catch up. If we want them to do well, we need to help eliminate what we can that distracts them. That means doing our best to keep them out of pain.
It’s not always possible to completely prevent your child from getting cavities, but there are some things you can do to give them their best chance.
It’s important that they not only brush twice a day, but floss as well. No, you won’t have to duct tape them to a wall to get that to happen. There are ways to make brushing fun for children. There are free dental apps that have animals that brush with your children and games they can play. There are floss handles that make it easier for children to reach their teeth when they floss. There are even smart toothbrushes now.
It’s important children miss as few days in school as possible. With school winding down for the year, now is the ideal time to schedule summer appointments. This means they can get their teeth cleaned without having to miss any time in class. Once you get their school’s yearly schedule, schedule another appointment on a teacher work day around six months from your summer appointment. There’s bound to be a day school is out that will work.
I realize dental visits can be expensive, but there are options. Dentists generally went into their field in order to help people. Almost all dentists are willing to work with patients on payments. There are even no-interest payment plans available through companies like Care Credit.