As it so often does, fall has rolled around quicker than expected. With the colder weather, falling leaves, and jackets comes the start of school – and your family’s changing priorities. Once school is back in session, it feels like there’s not enough time in the day, and this leads to skipping the things you don’t have the opportunity to take care of. For many families, this means their dental exams.

Don’t let your teeth fall by the wayside. By building a strong smile today, you help yourself and your children make tooth-healthy choices in the future. Take today as an opportunity to think ahead – because before you know it, the whole school year will be over, and you’ll be facing summertime yet again.

Set Up a Family Dental Exam Schedule

When you schedule exams far in the future, you benefit from your forward-thinking. For one thing, the schedule is wide open! You’ll be able to visit whenever is most convenient for you. For another, you’ll have the exams in place before life starting getting overwhelming, so you won’t find yourself ending up without enough time for preventive care. And with the open schedule blocks, it will be easy to schedule your family members’ exams alongside one another, making care possible with just one trip to the office.

How often should you visit? The ADA recommends that most patients visit every six months. If you fall into higher-risk categories for periodontitis or cavities, Dr. Kim may want you to get checked out more often. This includes patients with a history of gum disease, patients who use tobacco, diabetics, and pregnant women. With more frequent exams, any problems will be caught right away before they’re able to develop into serious concerns.

Embrace Healthy Eating


Packing school lunches takes a little extra time, but makes sure your kids get a good variety of nutrients (and avoid overloading on sugar) every day

When things get busy, careful grocery shopping and meal planning tend to go out the window. But if you keep a few core tenets in mind, you’ll find it easy to stay on the right track:

  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables – Fresh produce acts as a natural toothbrush, with the structures scrubbing away bacteria and cleansing your mouth. They also stimulate saliva production to help return your mouth to a normal state after eating/drinking.

  • Choose unsweetened products – Pre-packaged foods tend to have a lot of added sugar – it always helps boost the taste, and make the product more popular. Try to go for fresh options instead to avoid these additional sweeteners. If you’re in the habit of having flavored yogurt or granola bars, find healthy alternatives that have less of the sweet stuff.

  • Pack your kids’ lunches (and your own!) – No matter your age, you benefit from having a home-packed lunch instead of eating out or grabbing a prepackaged meal. You’ll not only save money, but also give your teeth more of the good stuff (like well-rounded, nutritious foods).

  • Avoid sweet or acidic drinks – Think about how often you sip on a drink each day. Every time that liquid enters your mouth, it washes over your teeth. If it’s sweet or acidic, this hastens decay. Try choosing unsweetened iced tea, seltzer water, or just plain water instead of soda or juice.

Listen to What Your Teeth are Telling You

By paying closer attention to your teeth, you’ll know when there’s something you need to do when a problem is at hand. If you’re experiencing pain, or notice that your gum line is changing, that’s always worth checking out. You’ll put your worries to rest, and gain the confidence that comes with a healthy body and mind!

Have questions about your family’s dental care? Get in touch today.

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Dr. Kim Okamura

I'm Dr. Kim Okamura and this blog is a product of my love of dentistry. I dedicate it to all the patients I have served so that they may better understand my craft. The information here will give you and others the power to maintain and protect one of your most priceless gifts ... your SMILE.