Summer is Great Time to Focus on Kids' Health
Between cookouts, camping trips and everything else on your family’s summer bucket list, it’s easy for school to sneak up on you. Unfortunately, we may not think about making our regular health appointments until August, in which many health professionals experience a rush of patients trying to schedule these appointments. By scheduling those back-to-school appointments now with your dentist, optometrist, physician and other health care professionals, you can enjoy a little extra free time this summer.
According to parents in a nationwide survey by Delta Dental, nearly 30 percent say summer vacation is the most difficult time to get their children to practice good dental health habits. This is not surprising as we look at how our school routine differs from a more relaxed summer schedule. Taking a few minutes now to run through this summer health checklist will keep your family’s good health habits top of mind and make your back to school transition a little smoother.
Tips for scheduling appointments
- Take the time to review your dental, vision, and medical insurance benefits to take advantage of preventive checkups.
- Check on any school health requirements for your children. In Iowa, all children entering kindergarten and ninth grade are required to have a dental screening before school starts, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. These preventive checks help with early identification of dental health issues and other overall health problems.
- Ask about custom-fitted mouth guards for sports especially fall football and soccer.
- Schedule appointments with each provider for a time when you’re not in a rush and everyone is well rested.
- Eating a nutritious meal before any appointment will make a positive difference on attitudes.
- Consider making your dental and vision appointments together as a family. Children will model what their parents are doing. You could also have an older child go first to model behavior for the younger ones to follow.
Summer health tips
Here are some ways you can help keep your families health on track this summer:
- Let your child pick a new, summer-themed toothbrush to kick off the summer right. Make sure you choose one with a small head and soft bristles.
- Send a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with your child when they have sleepovers.
- Try motivational charts with small weekly rewards to help continue routines like brushing twice a day and flossing once.
- Play music to make brushing more fun and more thorough - remember to brush for two minutes every time.
- Don’t forget your protection from the sun with sunglasses and sunscreen.
“We know that preventive health care routines positively contribute to overall good health,” said Dr. Jeff Chaffin, vice president and dental director for Delta Dental of Iowa. “Investing in your family’s health by making and keeping scheduled appointments will pay off with less missed time from school and work.”
A few minutes of planning summer routines now can keep your family healthy and ready to go back to school this fall. For more information on children’s dental health care, read our latest blogs.