The new school year is starting, and that means new books, new backpacks, and new clothes for your growing kids. But the start of the next chapter in your child’s life should also mean a trip to the dentist for their twice-yearly checkup. As you’re refreshing your little ones’ wardrobes and responsibilities, don’t forget to make time for a trip to your dentist and—as your child gets more mature—teach them how to care for their oral health on their own.
Healthy eating isn’t just about fueling your body and feeding your brain; the foods you eat have a direct and often immediate impact on your dental health. Sugary and acidic foods break down the tooth enamel and can cause cavities and tooth decay. It’s important to teach your child the effects of the food they eat on their teeth.
- Pack a healthy lunch. If your child is older, they may enjoy helping you or learning to make their own lunches, which can teach responsibility and ownership of their health.
- Cut back on sugary foods and soft drinks, and bulk up on foods like apples, raw vegetables, and dairy like milk and yogurt, as these foods have been shown to help clean teeth naturally and strengthen enamel.
Use A Mouthguard
If your child plays sports or will be participating in gym classes, make sure he or she is fitted for a new mouthguard. This can either be done at your dentist’s office, or using an over-the-counter mouthguard you can mold at home. Make sure you consult with your dentist before choosing a mouthguard that will be comfortable for your child and effective against sports injuries.
Get the Right Tools
Your back-to-school shopping checklist should include dental hygiene tools like new toothbrushes, fluoride toothpastes, and floss. Checking with your dentist about proper toothbrush size for your child can prevent discomfort and help your child keep his or her teeth cleaner when brushing. Encourage your child to brush for at least 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste, and remind them to replace their toothbrush every 3 months.
- Use flossing tools. Often, floss is hard to handle for young children. If you’re teaching your child to floss on their own, consider a floss holder or a waterpick, which are easier for small hands to manage.
See Your Dentist Often
All of your child’s teeth – even their baby teeth – are important to their oral and overall health. Making time for your family to see the dentist twice a year for a checkup, cleaning, and mouth screening can help keep your child’s teeth healthy and prevent problems like tooth decay and gingivitis. Some dentists have special training for working with young patients, and can recommend at-home plans for maintaining your child’s dental health.
Do you have questions about keeping your child’s mouth healthy as they go back to school? Call our Aurora Dental Group today!