It’s that time of year again! Summer has passed in the blink of an eye, and school is just around the corner. When it comes to clothing and school supplies you may be prepared, but have you considered how you’re going to keep your child’s teeth healthy throughout the year? From dental appointments, to lunchbox tips, to dental habits at home, here’s are some easy steps you can take to make sure your kids stay smiling and their mouths stay healthy.
#1 Book your dental appointment in advance
Between barbecues, bike rides, and family vacations, it’s easy to forget about back-to-school dental appointments until at least late August. However, unsurprisingly most other parents have the same idea, so book in advance to avoid the rush!
Regular dental visits are important year-round, but a back-to-school check-up is especially essential. Up to a third of children miss school days due to oral problems like cavities every year. By visiting the dentist at least twice a year, early signs of cavities can be detected, and necessary treatment can be given.
#2 Encourage dental habits at home
While you’re easing your kids back into the early morning routine, don’t forget to encourage them to continue practicing a solid dental routine at home. Depending on your child’s age, they may need a bit of supervision to make sure they are brushing correctly twice a day and flossing once a day.
Try setting a specific time to brush teeth every day. With little time to spare on most busy school mornings, many kids eat breakfast on the way to school. If this is the case, make sure they remember to brush before they head down for breakfast.
#3 Replace your child’s toothbrush
You should replace a toothbrush every three months, and even sooner if the bristles are frayed. If you find it hard to remember when you should be replacing them, have a few extra toothbrushes stored just in case, and bring a new one out every time your child gets a new report card. Next time you’re shopping for groceries or back-to-school supplies, head to the dental care aisle and let your child pick out their own brush and toothpaste. Not only will this keep them occupied in the grocery store, but it will also help to make teeth brushing fun and exciting!
#4 Pack healthy lunchboxes
It’s tempting to fill lunchboxes with easy, unhealthy snacks like chocolate bars and chips. However, sticky, sugary food clings to teeth and encourages plaque to grow and cavities to develop. An easy way to maintain a healthy smile is by swapping sugary snacks for healthy alternatives – like fruits, nuts, grains, cheese, and raw veg. If your child does want to indulge in the occasional chocolate bar (and don’t we all?), try and make sure they eat it just after a meal, as the previous food will help protect teeth against sugar.
#5 Get your child fitted for a mouth guard
Back to school means the return of gym class and organized sports. If your child participates in physical activity, they’ll need a fitted mouth guard to prevent injuries. While over the counter mouth guards work, they often do not fit well and can be uncomfortable. We fit custom mouth guards that fit teeth properly and protect the teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue from trauma.