boy and girl running with backpacks and text: Beat the back to school rush!

Is your child ready for school?

  • Pencils – Check!
  • Paper – Check!
  • Crayons – Check!
  • Dentist Appointment – !!!

There’s so much to do when it’s back to school time, it’s easy to forget about a visit to the dentist. But Kentucky now requires proof of a dental screening or exam before a child can be registered for school. Live in Indiana? Keep reading – even if a dental visit is not required for school, oral health is important to every child’s success in school.

Studies have shown a link between a child’s oral health care and performance in school.

What’s the connection? Oral health can impact a child’s ability to perform well in school in a number of ways, including absence from school, dealing with pain, inability to chew properly, being unable to focus, and feeling self-conscious.

  • In one study, children with poor oral health were nearly 3 times more likely than their peers to miss school as a result of dental pain. Interestingly enough, the same study found that absences due to pain were associated with poorer school performances, where absences for routine care were not.
  • For children and teens in families with lower incomes, the kids who had a toothache within the last 6 months were almost 4 times as likely as their peers to have an average GPA below a 2.8. (National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center)
  • Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for children ages 6 to 19. (CDC website)

The Good News: Preventative dental care can make all the difference!

Make sure your child is prepared to succeed in school and in life by helping them to stay healthy. For their oral health, this means brushing twice a day and flossing daily, eating a balanced diet, and seeing the dentist regularly. We’d love to see you before school starts!

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Photo of baby smiling with text: Don't believe this baby myth

THE Most Harmful Myth About Your Baby’s Teeth

If someone says to you, “Baby teeth fall out, so you don’t have to worry about them, right?” You tell them, “Wrong!”

Okay, maybe you don’t want to just shout “Wrong!” at them, but you can tell them that in truth, baby teeth are important to a child’s overall health and wellness. Inadequate care of baby teeth, a.k.a. primary teeth, can leave behind bad effects on a child’s overall health and wellness, even when the teeth are long gone.

4 Ways Baby Teeth Are Important To Overall Health And Wellness

  1. Baby teeth help young children chew food properly.
  2. Baby teeth are a part of speech development.
  3. Baby teeth hold space for permanent teeth to grow in.
  4. Baby teeth can decay, and untreated decay “can result in a broad range of functional impairments that have far-reaching implications for growth, development, school performance, and peer relationships.

Fortunately, caring for baby teeth is as easy as caring for your own.

How To Care For Your Baby’s Teeth And Gums

Prior to teething, use a soft, warm, wet cloth to gently massage your baby’s gums. Once teeth begin to appear, you can brush with a soft toothbrush, but don’t use toothpaste until around age two. Kids can begin learning to brush their teeth around age two or three, but they will need help or supervision typically until age 6 or 7. Finally, you should schedule regular checkups with your child’s dentist, beginning at 12 months of age, or within 6 months from when baby’s first tooth appears.

For more helpful information on children’s oral health, check out our Parent’s Guide to Dental Hygiene infographic! Need to schedule an appointment? Help is just a click away.

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tooth next to medical kit - illustration

Don’t Let Your Teeth Land You In The ER

Now more than ever, it’s not just a good idea to visit your dentist regularly, it’s a necessity.

An increasing number of people are visiting the emergency room for dental issues, often for problems that have become severe because they put off basic dental care.  Not only is this harmful to your health, it’s harmful to your wallet. From a recent Courier-Journal article on rising ER visits for dental problems:

“By law, ERs have to see patients even if they can’t pay. But although they often provide little more than painkillers and antibiotics to dental patients, the visits cost more than three times as much as a routine dental visit, averaging $749 if the patient isn’t hospitalized — and costing the U.S. health care system $1.6 billion a year.”

Making Dental Care Affordable and Convenient

About 40% of U.S. adults (18+) have not visited the dentist in the past year. And though dental cavities are the number one most common chronic disease for children and teens (ages 6 – 19), around 18% of kids’ cavities are going untreated. Why is this happening?

Two common barriers that we often hear are that dental care is expensive, and that visits are inconvenient. We can help with that!

With 36 dental offices throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana, we likely have an office near where you live or work. And while there are many factors that contribute to the cost of care, there are three ways we’re trying to keep visits affordable for patients.

  1. We accept most major insurance plans. We are also happy to check with your insurance provider to provide payment estimates for treatments! Call us to see if we accept your insurance.
  2. We accept Care Credit. CareCredit is a credit card designated for health, dental and wellness expenses.
  3. We offer a comprehensive dental plan. Under the plan, there are no yearly maximums, no deductibles, and no waiting periods.

Save yourself and your family from extra trips to the ER.

Many dental issues that start out small can become complex and more expensive to deal with if you avoid regular dental care. Your oral health is closely tied to your overall health, and helping you achieve your optimal health and well-being is our primary goal.

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Photo of a smiling, dark-haired female dentist

The 3 Best Questions You Can Ask Your Dentist

Want to make the most of your next visit to your family dentist? Try asking these three questions to maximize your time spent in the dental chair.

1. What is my overall oral health situation?

This question is about getting a broad view of your oral health. Knowing whether you’re generally doing pretty well or are not in the best shape can help you to make more informed decisions about treatments. It can also provide insight on other areas of your health or lifestyle – nutrition or exercise, for example – that are contributing to, and being affected by, your oral health.

2. What will improve my oral health?

Be on the lookout when you ask this question for both steps that you can take your own, as well as treatments that your dentist or hygienist can offer. Your dentist can help you figure out if a specific kind of toothpaste is better for you, whether you’re brushing correctly, or whether a new product you’ve seen is worth a try. When you’re talking about treatments, your dentist can offer advice on what is most needed, what can be done at another time, and whether there are any alternatives.

3. Is there anything my family doctor needs to know about?

Your oral health is closely linked to your overall health. Sometimes, your dentist may be first to spot symptoms that can indicate health issues your family physician or general practitioner (GP) needs to know about. Asking this question helps to ensure that relevant information is shared with all the right people.

BONUS: Be prepared.

Ok, this isn’t a question, but being as prepared as you can is also important to getting the best possible dental care. If you’re experiencing any kind of problem in your mouth, like a sore jaw or sore gums, or notice anything unusual, such as a lump or irritation, be sure to speak up about it. Even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, your dentist will be able to tell if it’s something that needs to be monitored or addressed.

Feeling ready for your next visit? We hope so! If you don’t have one scheduled, just call us or click below to get one set.

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