The leaves are just starting to turn and the school buses are beginning to appear in neighborhoods all across the country. You’ve done the shopping for pencils and pens, and gotten the wardrobe just right for your child’s all-important first day back at school.
That’s right, it’s back-to-school time, which also means it’s time make sure your kids’ teeth are healthy and happy. Almost one million school days are lost each year because of tooth pain, so here’s some helpful hints to make sure your child has healthy teeth this school season.
Schedule a dental checkup
Children should see a dentist twice a year and by adding a back-to-school dental visit you can ensure proper teeth care and less missed days due to toothaches or any other dental problems. By making a dental exam part of your annual routine, children can also begin to see going to the dentist as a beneficial habit and part of every year’s pre-school plans. Some schools may even require a dental checkup, so be sure to contact your dentist today to get on their schedule early.
Bring healthy snacks
Among the best choices for snacks and lunches in a child’s lunchbox are cheese, fresh fruit, and veggies. Cheeses such as cheddar are excellent for your child’s teeth as they neutralize harmful acids. You should also look to eliminate acidic options like sodas and some fruit juice, which can erode the enamel on children’s teeth. Foods high in protein like milk and yogurt are a wonderful choice as well, as they not only help a child feel full, but also are good for overall mouth health. Try to stay away from processed and refined carbs that are high in sugar. If your kids do need something sweet, chocolate is a decent choice and much better then hard candy or bubble gum, as it offers much shorter exposure of sugar to the teeth.
Time it right
Setting a schedule for your child to floss and brush is key to promoting healthy teeth. Children should brush their teeth twice a day and floss at least once. Often during busy mornings kids will forget these routine tasks. By instituting a schedule every morning and evening (and by helping supervise them), you can get children used to a routine that will last a lifetime. A tooth-brushing timer is another great way to help children keep track of how long they are supposed to brush for. There are many fun options on the market today made to make sure kids get the necessary two-minute minimum of brushing time.
Rinse after every meal
Remind your child to try to rinse their mouth out with water after eating a meal at while at school. In an ideal world people should brush their teeth after every meal, but by at least rinsing out your mouth and freeing food particles from your teeth and gum it can help prevent decay.
Involve them in the shopping
Involving your child in choosing the their toothbrush and floss gets them into the process and allows the feel a part of their own dental health. Making sure that they know how to choose toothbrush with soft bristles and that is the correct size for their age will help empower them to use those objects more. Letting your child choose a toothpaste flavor that they will enjoy is also key, as their taste may be very different then yours.
Contact Dr. Tiffany Goldwyn and Dr. Howard Jarvis at SW Portland Dentists for your child’s back to school appointment today!