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.

Here at Whistler Dental, we wish you all the best for the new school year! For a custom mouthguard fitting, or for a back-to-school check-up, please book an appointment.

Invisalign is a relatively easy and discreet treatment that straightens teeth using a series of removable plastic aligners. Offering numerous benefits, it is extremely popular amongst our adult clientele who want the luxury of a virtually invisible treatment. However, more and more parents are asking: Does Invisalign work for kids?

While there are many advantages of Invisalign over traditional braces, every child is different, and the success of this treatment will vary depending on a number of factors. Here are the benefits of Invisalign for children, and how we decide if it’s the right solution for your child.

The benefits Invisalign for your child:

  • Unlike traditional metal braces, Invisalign is meant to be taken out during teeth cleaning. This means your child will not need to make any major adjustments to their regular dental routine. They can continue to keep teeth clean and healthy, and reduce the risk of cavities or gum disease.
  • Another serious benefit is that Invisalign aligners should be removed for all meals. This means your child’s diet is not restricted, and Invisalign will not interfere with everyday life.
  • Children and teens often don’t want braces due to aesthetic reasons, and can feel extremely self-conscious with braces or crooked teeth. Invisalign is almost invisible, so can remove this potential source of anxiety.
  • Finally, Invisalign is often more comfortable and less painful for kids to wear, as there is no risk of broken brace brackets.

How do we decide if Invisalign is the right treatment for your child?

While there is no exact criteria that we use, there are a few universal things that we always consider to see if your child is a good candidate for Invisalign. These include…

Age

There is no specific age that determines when a child is right for Invisalign. However, older children and teens are usually more viable candidates. Alignments must be worn 22 hours of the day, so your child needs to be mature enough to keep their trays in their mouth for the right amount of time, and not leave them on their nightstand or at the bottom of their bag.

Each Invisalign aligner tray has tiny blue compliance indicators on them that begin to fade the more your child wears them. This means that you and your dentist can easily check that your child wears their aligners frequently enough.

Teeth positioning

We recommend Invisalign for kids who have lost all of their baby teeth and have a full set of permanent teeth. We do not advise it for children whose mouths are still growing and developing, or for any child who has significant tooth decay or damage.

Though the second and third molars (otherwise known as wisdom teeth) do not need to have erupted, we check to make sure that all of your child’s permanent incisors and first molars have erupted through the gum. Usually, we will X-Ray the patient’s mouth to assess the position of the teeth and check how much space is needed for remaining teeth to come through.

We always make sure that we choose the best and most appropriate dental treatment for your child. If you are considering Invisalign as a parent, Whistler Dental would be happy to discuss our recommendations and help you to decide if the treatment is right for your child.  You can book an appointment, or if you have any further questions regarding Invisalign, please get in contact! You can find all of our contact details here.

Often when the word mouthguard is mentioned, images of hockey players with missing teeth are conjured. In reality, the use of a mouthguard extends into a great number of sports. Determining if you would benefit from wearing one is simple: Do you want to protect your teeth and jaw while playing sports? If you answered yes, then exploring mouthguard options is for you. Choosing to get a custom mouthguard depends on what your personal preferences are regarding comfort level, price range, materials, and protection level.

What Exactly Is a Custom Mouthguard?

A custom-made mouth guard is fabricated by a dentist. The dentist takes a detailed mold of your teeth and then creates the protection out of thermoplastic materials. Since they are designed to fit perfectly in your mouth, they are considered by many to be the most protective option available.

What Are The Benefits?

Wearing a custom mouthguard while playing sports is the best protection for not only your teeth but your jaw and head. It will help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. Additionally, they can help absorb shock, stabilize the head and neck, and limit movement caused by a direct hit to the jaw; thus, reducing the risk of damage a blow to the head can cause.

How Long Do They Last?

Generally speaking, a custom mouthguard should be replaced every few years. To increase its longevity, a mouth guard must be taken care of and cleaned properly like any other appliance that is utilized to help your teeth. It should also be replaced once it becomes worn out because it will no longer offer a high level of protection.

Here are some tips on how to keep your mouthguard clean and in good condition:

  • Gently scrub it after each use with a toothbrush and some toothpaste.
  • Store it in its protective case.
  • To prevent it from melting or becoming deformed, keep it out of hot water or the sun.
  • Avoid chewing on it.
  • Replace it if it doesn’t fit properly and at the beginning of a new sports season

How Do I get One?

Custom-fit mouthguards can only be obtained through your dentist. If you are eligible for one, your dentist will arrange a time when you can be fitted for a dental mould to begin the process of creating your custom mouthguard.

If you are considering a custom mouthguard or have questions regarding one, be sure to talk to your dental professional.