Your child may have the latest wardrobe, school supplies and sports equipment for the new school year, but do they have a healthy mouth and the tools they’ll need to maintain it?
According to the American Dental Association, a dental examination is as important as immunizations and booster shots and should be a regular part of back-to-school preparations. With over 51 million school hours missed per year because of dental problems, we think it’s pretty safe to say that taking steps to prevent dental problems and dental emergencies in school age children is a good idea. Here are some back to school dental tips that will help ensure that your child or teen’s healthy teeth check-ups are the only dental appointments they will need this year.
Supervise Dental Hygiene!
In younger children, this is especially important. Instruct them on proper brushing and flossing. Check their work to make sure they have cleaned all the way in back and behind their front teeth. Talk about healthy teeth, and the importance of maintaining good personal hygiene by brushing teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, and once your permanent teeth come in, make sure that they floss.
Don’t Skip Regular Dental Check-Ups!
The best way to avoid the need for extensive dental work is to detect problems early. Seeing the dentist every six months for and exam and dental cleaning makes this possible, and prevents small problems from turning into bigger, more expensive and more time consuming problems.
Wear Sports Mouthguards!
Some of the most common sports injuries are dental injuries. Youth athletics are an important part of life for many kids, and dental injuries can happen in any sport. Make sure your child or teen wears a dental mouth guard to protect his/her teeth during practice and games. Ask your dentist about custom-fitted mouth guards for added protection.
Pack a Great Lunch!
1. Stay away from packing your child’s lunch with drinks that are high in sugar. Many sports drinks, energy drinks, sodas, and juices have anywhere between 5-12 teaspoons of sugar in one serving. The longer this sugar stays on your child’s teeth, the more likely they will develop tooth decay. Many children do not have a chance to brush their teeth throughout the day, so minimizing the amount of sugar in their lunch can help decrease their chances of cavities.
2. Pack snacks that are high in protein in your child’s lunch. High protein foods will minimize hunger, and as a result your child will be less likely to snack all day on sugary unhealthy foods that are found in many cafeterias and on-campus vending machines.
3. If you want to occasionally add a sweet treat to your child’s lunch, try chocolate instead of other candies that are highly acidic and/or are more likely to stick to their teeth for long periods of time.