With school starting soon, many Iowa parents have already bought their children new clothes, backpacks and shoes, plus, they’ve taken the kids in for their vaccines. Dr. Ed Schooley, dental director for Delta Dental of Iowa, is hoping they’ll do something else.
“We would like to have parents also think of getting their child in for a dental checkup as part of that back-to-school checklist,” Dr. Schooley says. “Despite all of the great advances, half the children ages 5 to 9 still have at least one cavity or filling at this point.”
It’s not just a recommendation, as having a dental checkup is required for all children in Iowa who are newly enrolling in an elementary or high school. Schooley says the checkup won’t take too long.
“For the most part, you’re just screening for any kind of tooth decay or gum problems,” Schooley says. “It’s trying to insure that the kids are ready to go back to school and learn.” He says dental checkups help with the early detection and treatment of dental disease and they promote the importance of a healthy mouth for school readiness.
“Fifty-one-million school hours are lost each year due to oral health problems,” Schooley says. “Learning is difficult enough the way it is but when you’re distracted by a toothache or pain of some type, it really compounds the problem.”
A recent survey by Delta Dental found 12% of Iowa parents reported their child had missed school due to oral health problems. He suggests parents pack a healthy school lunch and snacks, including fresh fruits and vegetables, while limiting the amount of pop kids drink. Also, if they’re taking part in sports, make sure they wear mouth guards.
Find more tips at: www.OralHealthIA.com