There is so much for parents to do this time of year. There’s the dreaded back to school supply list to be checked off. There’s the clothing issue. What worked last year is either now totally “un-cool” or it doesn’t fit! There are new schedules and activities to arrange on the calendar. And the list goes on. But don’t forget their teeth! Along with new notebooks, pencils, backpacks and tennis shoes, be sure you send them off with good oral hygiene habits as well.
Here are 5 tips to make sure your child is going back to school with healthy dental habits:
1. Hopefully you’ve been brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they appeared. Then you can let them take over once they are old enough to do it themselves. Brushing and flossing before and after school regularly removes bacteria from the mouth and prevents decay and gum disease.
2. Involve your children in the process by letting them choose their own toothbrush. Make sure that the brush has soft bristles and is the correct size for their age. Also, experiment with toothpaste flavors. Mint flavors are often too strong for children, so try several different flavors to find their favorite. The more they like the flavor, the more they will want to brush their teeth.
3. Pack healthy lunches and snacks. By including portable healthy lunch items in your child’s lunchbox, you can help manage the sugary and acidic foods your child eats. If your child eats the school cafeteria food, review the menu with him/her and encourage them to choose the healthier options. Discuss with them why certain foods are better than others.
4. Have your child outfitted for a mouthguard. For many children, a new school year means the start of sports and other physical activities. A well-fitting mouthguard will protect their teeth from a painful injury.
5. Schedule twice a year appointments with your dentist. While good home care is extremely important, it is still necessary to schedule time to see your dentist. A dentist will thoroughly clean and examine your child’s teeth and address any potential issues like cavities or gum disease. Catching these problems early will prevent them from escalating in the future.
If you missed getting your child’s checkup over the summer months, be sure to contact my office for an appointment to kick off the school season.
Wishing everyone a safe and wonderful school year!