Summer is fast approaching, making now a great time to remind patients of the importance of scheduling a dental checkup for their children. Once summer break begins, it can be easy for parents to get caught up in summer camp, little league, family vacations and all the things that make the season memorable for their children. But summer can also be the most important and the easiest time to bring in a child for a routine dental exam.
Here, we discuss the benefits of a summertime dental visit for children, why summer is the best time to bring in a child for a dental checkup and how to best communicate the importance of the summertime dental checkup with patients.
The benefits of scheduling a summertime dental visit for children
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States; most readers of Off the Cusp likely already know this. But it’s worth mentioning because of how easy it is for children to get off routine during summer break.
Without the structure of school or because of the changing routine of summer activities, it can be easy for oral health care to take a back seat. With this lack of structure and increase in activities, often come more sugary treats or snacking throughout the day. For example, while sports drinks are great for replacing electrolytes lost during a hot summer day playing baseball, these drinks are usually loaded with sugar, leading to caries. By getting a child in for routine care early in summer, the dentist can catch caries early or discuss measures beyond routine flossing and brushing to further prevent cavities, such as applying sealants. According to the CDC, “school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants,” making the application beneficial for most children.
Although a trip to the dentist might not be at the top of their summer break plans, making sure kids get their routine dental exam in before the start of school in the fall is important. In fact, some schools even require a dental screening for enrollment. Regardless of state or local requirements, it’s important to stay on top of routine oral health care to ensure up-to-date records are on file in case of a dental emergency and to instill good oral hygiene habits.
Although a trip to the dentist might not be at the top of their summer break plans, making sure kids get their routine dental exam in before the start of school in the fall is important.
Why summer is the best time to schedule a dental appointment
While it may be easy for parents to put off or even forget to bring their children in for a checkup during the summer months, it can be a rather convenient time for a dental appointment. With children on summer break, there is no worry about needing to miss class, which means less hassle for the parent and less stress on the child.
Along with school being out, many parents find it’s easier to bring their kids in for a dental appointment because of a more open schedule. With no school, it can be easier for parents to find time during a weekday to bring in their child or to have a secondary caregiver bring them in, such as grandma or grandpa.
Finally, with kids at home more during the summer and extra time available in the evenings, summer can be a great time for parents to focus on home oral health routines. Oral health providers should make a point to discuss home oral hygiene routines during any routine exam but talking about home care with a pediatric patient during a summer appointment can have a greater impact. During the exam, speak with the parent and child about when to brush, for how long and show them proper technique. Discuss other home oral care and ways to make it a part of their everyday life. The younger the patient, the more important it is to instill good oral hygiene habits.
How to communicate the importance of the summertime dental appointment with patients
We’ve discussed the importance of parents bringing their child to the dentist during the summer months. But also important is ensuring the schedule at your dental practice remains full all summer long. Here are a few ideas for reminding your patients to schedule a summertime dental checkup for their children:
These are only a few ways to communicate with your patients the need to schedule a summertime appointment for their children. Bring this topic up during your morning huddle to see if your staff can come up with a few more ideas.
Summer will be here before you know it. The sooner you can fill up your schedule, the better. Your patients will appreciate the reminders and learning the importance of keeping one of their child’s twice-yearly appointments in the summer.
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