Parents’ guide to summer dental health

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By Dr. Stephanie McGann, DMD FAGD, Columnist, The Times

UTStephCollogoSummer is here and if your kids are like mine, they would rather sleep, eat, stare at their video screens and repeat.  Without regular prodding things that are more normal in their routine seem to fall by the wayside.

Keep oral hygiene a priority; I know as a mom I get a much-needed break from the early AM roller coaster of getting kids out the door on and on the bus. If your kids are older, it’s up to them, but it never hurts to put together a reminder note.  There are many online games and mobile aps that reinforce good oral habits.   Visit Colgate Kids   Mouth Healthy Kids

School Dental Exams

Summer is a great time to be sure that every child’s dental visits are up to date. If a child is entering a Pennsylvania school for the first time they will need to have the state dental exam record completed by a dentist. This exam must be repeated for all students entering 3rd grade and entering 7th grade. As long as the student is current (within 6 months) of the start of the school year the form can be signed by your dentist.   If a youngster has not been to the dentist for an examination within 6 months then now is the time to get this done.    PA DENTAL FORM

The awful truth about cavities

Dental caries (tooth decay) is the leading cause of missed school days for illness in the United States. One survey suggested more than 51 million school hours were missed from dental disease. It is now considered the number 1 childhood illness. It has been estimated that 16 million children have untreated cavities. Left untreated pediatric dental diseases can have negative effects on a child. While we never want to see a child in pain tooth decay can lead to severe bacterial infections, malnourishment, and emergency surgeries and even can be fatal. Pain from a dental problem can compromise a child’s ability to learn in a classroom. Some dental problems can cause speech impediments and adversely affect growth and development.

Tooth Decay can be prevented

Thanks to Obamacare every child has preventive dental coverage as part of their medical insurance. While not every plan works at every office, a quick check of the benefits should help connect child and dental team.   Community water Fluoridation can prevent dental disease by as much as 40%. Regular dental visits and quick attention to small areas of decay can prevent much larger more devastating dental concerns in our children for years to come.

The old adage – a stitch in time saves 9, is very true when it comes to dental care. So while our kids are home for the summer it is the perfect time to visit the dentist.


Dr. Stephanie McGann, who has more than two decades of dental practice experience, is a resident of the Unionville area and along with her partner, Dr. Marie Scott, operates The Brandywine Smile Center, a family-friendly dental practice in Concordville. Dr. McGann has opened a new practice in Valley Township, Rainbow Valley Dental. She is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry.

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