August is National Eye Exam Month. At Children’s Choice, we encourage parents to not only stay on top of their children’s oral health but their eye health, too. That’s because the two are closely connected.
Good oral health doesn’t just impact the appearance of your child’s smile and self-esteem. Minor dental concerns can progress into more serious ones that affect different areas of their body — including their vision.
An infected top tooth can become inflamed and cause swelling in your child’s mouth and face. This can cause strain on their sight, and even put their eyes at risk of infection.
Maintaining good oral health in childhood is the key to achieving good eye health. A healthy smile can prevent more serious eye problems later in life, including Glaucoma.
As your child is heading back to school, it’s important to take care of their eye and dental health now before things get busy. And we care about helping you maintain your child’s health — now and down the road.
Discover more about the connection between eye and oral health, and how you can make sure both are healthy for the new school year.
Indicators That Your Child May Have an Eye Problem
Young children may not know always know when something is wrong with their bodies. Even if they can tell something is wrong with their eyes or vision, they may not know how to tell you.
Instead of relying on your child to communicate a potential issue, be on the lookout for concerns with your child’s eyes, especially if they’re very young.
Here are some common signs that your child may have a vision problem:
- Persistent eye itching
- Pain or tenderness around the eye
- Redness in or around the eye
- Swollen or droopy eyelids
- Irregular eye movement
- Discolored pupils
If your child does experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a serious issue. But it’s best to schedule an eye exam with a pediatric ophthalmologist right away to ensure it doesn’t get worse.
Vision Can Impact Your Child’s School Performance
Vision problems can also cause problems with your child’s school performance. Poor vision can cause your child to not be able to see boards at school or even content online.
1 in 5 preschoolers in the United States has vision problems. By the time they enter school, 1 in 4 will need or wear corrective lenses. The biggest issue is that children often won’t say anything, as they don’t know what their vision should look like.
How to Protect Your Child’s Vision
With some practical steps, you can be proactive in keeping your child’s eyes healthy and avoiding vision problems in the future. Keep these tips in mind to help you do just that:
- Schedule annual pediatric eye exams to make sure your child can see properly
- Make sure they get enough sleep every night
- Be mindful of your child’s family’s eye history
- Provide sunglasses for your child to wear on sunny days
- Encourage your child to wear eye protection when swimming or playing contact sports
- Give your child a well-balanced diet and healthy snack alternatives
Choice Vision Care
To help you make your family’s healthcare a priority, we offer vision services in 4 CHOICE locations: Sacramento (Natomas), Vacaville, Vallejo, and Yuba City. Your child can receive a quick 30-minute vision exam right after their next dental visit.
And CHOICE vision care isn’t just for kids. We also offer vision services for parents, too!
Indicators That Your Child May Have a Dental Problem
Just as with their eyes, young children may not know or tell you if they experience a dental problem. Protecting your child’s oral health may not seem critical since their mouth hasn’t developed permanent teeth yet.
But healthy primary teeth, or baby teeth, are essential for helping a child chew adequately, speak clearly, and maintain good oral health into adulthood.
Discover 4 of the most common myths about baby teeth >
With this in mind, it’s important to be on the lookout for any potential dental issues that could compromise the wellbeing of your little one’s oral health.
Your child may have a dental problem if they experience one of the following:
- Pain in their mouth, especially when eating or brushing their teeth
- Discoloration, including dark or white spots
- Problems chewing or speaking
- Sores in their mouth
- Bleeding gums
Like potential vision problems, dental issues won’t get better on their own.
If your child has one or more of these oral health concerns, be sure to schedule an appointment with Children’s Choice sooner rather than later. This can help you prevent minor dental problems from developing into more serious ones that can impact other areas of their body — including their eyes.
How to Protect Your Child’s Oral Health
The best way to protect your child’s oral health is to prevent dental issues from developing in the first place. And keeping your child’s smile and bright doesn’t have to be difficult
By making a few positive choices every day, your child will be well on their way to maintaining good oral health for a lifetime.
Here are some tips to keep your child’s teeth and gums in tip-top shape:
- Help them brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush, for two minutes each time they brush
- Teach them how to floss once a day to keep the crevices between their teeth free from debris and bacteria
- Provide healthy snacks and meals for them, limiting their sugar consumption
- Schedule routine dental exams and professional cleanings every six months
- Bring them to the dentist right away if they experience a dental problem or injury
- Practice what you preach by letting your child see you take good care of your own teeth and gums
Preventing oral health concerns in a young child can be hard, but it’s worth the effort. Remember, good oral hygiene won’t just impact their eye and overall health while they’re young.
The bottom line? A healthy smile will lead to a healthy lifestyle — in childhood and beyond.
Children’s Choice Can Keep Your Child Smiling Bright
Your kid’s dental and eye health are worth protecting.
If it’s been a while since your child has been to the dentist, or if it’s time for their first dental appointment, our trusted team at Children’s Choice is here to make their dental experience as enjoyable as possible.
We’re proud to offer progressive dental techniques, state-of-the-art equipment, and compassionate care in a fun, relaxing setting.
Contact us today to learn more about how to care for your little one’s growing smile or to schedule their next appointment.
We can’t wait to help your child smile bright for years to come!