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Back-to-School routine: Don't forget your dental exam

Carr Pediatric Dentistry
Posted at 8:42 AM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 09:37:58-04

Another important part of back-to-school is making sure your kids are healthy, and that means dental exams, too.

Local pediatric dentist Dr. Natalie Carr-Bustillo explained why these exams are so important for kids.

Dr. Carr-Bustillo said prevention is key and can be cheaper, too. Sealants cost about a third less than getting a filling.

"By doing dental sealants, some studies show that you can prevent up to 90% of all cavities on the chewing surface," explained Dr. Carr- Bustillo.

"COVID definitely had an uptick in cavities; I think just the children not having the routine that they typically had, which also means they don't have the routine and their eating habits. So by having that constant grazing throughout the day, we see an uptick in cavities. And so also the lack of prevention, again, prevention pays," Dr. Carr-Bustillo said.

Dr. Carr-Bustillo also recommends brushing and flossing your kids' teeth up until they're around 8 years old and twice a day

"A good rule of thumb is when your child can do cursive handwriting, they probably have enough dexterity or hand-eye coordination to be able to do the flossing or the brushing on their own. Flossing is probably closer to 10 to 12 years of age that we want to parent helping them brush and floss their teeth."

She also has some recommendations for kids who drink sports drinks.

"When we talk about back-to-school, we also want to remember prevention as far as kids are playing sports mouthguards are super important to help protect the teeth. Also, we don't think about things like the juices or the Gatorade and the sports drinks that we drink while playing sports," Dr. Carr-Bustillo said.

She continued, "If a child has a sports drink, what I recommend is you have sports, drinking water is typically enough, unless you've done two hours of intense, constant strenuous exercise. If you've done over two hours of intense, constant strenuous exercise, then you probably do need a sports drink. Now, what I tell my patients is when you have those sports drinks, chase it with a drink of water, swish that water inside your mouth, and then drink that water and then have a second drink of water. Swish that in your mouth to rinse off all the sugars and the salts from those sports drinks."