Believe it or not, back-to-school time is here, and while school supplies are often top of mind heading into the new year, preparing yourself and your kids for fall entails more than simply stocking up on pens, pencils and notebooks.
Ensuring you and your family are in top shape to embrace fresh fall school and work adventures is as easy as scheduling your annual and semi-annual doctor and dentist appointments. Going beyond a routine check up and setting up a consultation with your dentist, however, can help your child embark on a successful school year.
TOP TRENDS IN DENTISTRY
As a new mom and dentist, I can’t wait for the day my son starts elementary school and the annual pictures that will soon follow. All parents want to share their little ones’ bright smiles with family and friends (and later embarrass their offspring with the photos on prom night!) So the best practice is to make healthy habits an integral part of your family routine — brushing twice a day, flossing nightly, drinking plenty of water, etc. Making flossing, brushing and rinsing part of both morning and bedtime routines will ensure your kids start off on the right path to achieving healthy, bright smiles.
Although early habits make a huge difference, once kids hit junior high, emotions (and hormones) run high and self-esteem may plummet, and dentistry can make a difference in improving your pre-teen or teen’s confidence before major events including formal, prom or even graduation.
Not surprisingly, orthodontics and teeth whitening are the top cosmetic dental procedures for teens today. Since I was a teen, these procedures have come quite a long way. Today, with Invisalign and Invisalign Teen invisible braces, teens can dodge nicknames like “brace face” or “metal mouth”. Most treatment courses take less than a year and are both invisible and removable so you won’t even see them in school photos! Many teens are also opting to perk up their smiles with a simple, one-hour in-office treatment of Zoom! Whitening.
SAY CHEESE: KEEPING KIDS’ SMILES HEALTHY DURING HALLOWEEN
With Halloween upon us, it is important to think about how to keep our kids’ smiles healthy while still allowing them to indulge in sweet treats. No matter how often you brush and floss and visit your dentist, what you eat –or don’t — always plays a major part in determining whether your child’s visit to the dentist will be a brief field trip or an anxiety-provoking appointment. Common sense will tell you to steer clear of sugary, sticky snacks that are bad for your child’s health and teeth, but packing a small amount of dark chocolate in your or your child’s lunch can actually improve your smile! Dark chocolate is the least-processed and closest to the cocoa bean which contains tannins, polyphenols and flavonoids that offer strong antioxidant benefits for the mouth and teeth. If served in moderation, chocolate can be part of a healthy diet and dental plan; just be sure to enforce rinsing with a fluoride mouth wash and proper brushing afterward. Cheese has also been shown to have many anti-cavity benefits so ending a meal with some cheese is a good way to stave off cavities. And, of course, be sure to schedule semi-annual appointments to make sure your child’s dental health stays on track throughout the course of the year.
*Dr. Vasani is available for consultations, second opinions and appointments for the whole family at 560 Springfield Avenue, Suite L, Westfield, NJ 07090, 908.264.8335, firstname.lastname@example.org