Back-to-School Tips to Ensure Tip-Top Dental Health
Preparing Your Child for a New School Year Filled With Smiles
Between studying new student handbooks, figuring out classes, and going back-to-school shopping, preparing for a new school year is both exciting and a bit chaotic! Brushing up on kids’ dental health and cavity prevention are two more things parents should have on their to-do list.
Here are 10 of our favorite back-to-school kids’ dental health care tips for parents.
1. Include morning and bedtime brushing habits as your child gets back into the daily school routine.
As you help your child get back into the daily routine of waking up early and going to bed at set times, don’t forget about their dental health care. A thorough, two-minute brushing in the morning after breakfast is ideal. Bedtime brushing should be after they’re done eating for the day and include a flossing session to loosen any food stuck from dinner.
2. Buy new toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other oral care products to trigger some excitement.
If your child didn’t get a new toothbrush over the summer, it’s probably time for a new one now. Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months or any time your child has been sick. Consider buying a few new oral care products as well to help get them motivated to stick with their dental health care habits.
3. Have custom-fitted mouth guards made if your child will be in contact sports this year.
Mouth guards are crucial for any child who is in a contact sport, especially if they are also wearing braces. Youngsters who are in a noncontact sport like Little League baseball should also wear a mouth guard for extra protection from impacts or falls. If your child wore a mouth guard last year, bring it in to their next appointment so their dentist can ensure it still fits properly.
4. Pack a small kit of cleaning essentials to keep braces clean and comfortable.
If your child is sporting braces this school year, make them an easy-to-grab dental health care kit to keep at school. The kit should include a travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste, floss or interdental cleaners, and dental wax.
If your child is wearing clear aligners, simply include a toothbrush, toothpaste, and perhaps a small case to place their aligners in while they eat.
5. Give your child a reusable water bottle they can drink from throughout the school day.
Kids who carry a water bottle with them often drink more water compared to kids who need to purchase water or stop by a drinking fountain. Water not only keeps your child hydrated, but it also helps dental health by keeping their teeth free from food particles and bacteria. A lightweight but durable, reusable bottle is an eco-friendly choice over single-use plastic bottles.
6. Cut back their sugar consumption by focusing on healthy packed lunches and snacks.
You can’t prevent your child from sharing candy with a friend, but you can reduce their overall sugar consumption by packing their lunches and snacks. You’ll do wonders for their dental health by providing nutritious, filling lunches and snacks with plenty of whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and calcium-rich snacks, like cheese.
7. Provide your teen with xylitol gum to chew after meals and snacks.
Teens in high school can chew some xylitol gum after they’ve had lunch or a snack. Xylitol is good for your child’s dental health as it helps clean the surfaces of the teeth after meals and aids in cavity prevention. Don’t forget to remind your teen to spit that gum out before they return to class!
8. Ask your child’s dentist about dental sealants and other cavity prevention services.
If your child has never had dental sealants, right now is a great time to ask their dentist about them. Dental sealants form a thin shield of protection in the deep pits of your child’s molars, preventing 80% of cavities during the first two years!. Your child’s dentist will take a look at their sealants during every routine checkup to ensure they’re still in place and functional.
9. Plan for dental emergencies and refresh yourself on what to do in the event of a dental injury.
Dental emergencies happen, so it’s important as parents to be prepared. Make sure your child’s dentist is saved as a contact in your phone, including their emergency line if they have one. Refresh your memory on what to do if a tooth is knocked out, and for older kids and teens, share this information with them.
10. Schedule important dental appointments ahead of time and mark them on all your calendars.
A great time-management tip for parents is to schedule all their child’s preventive dental appointments a year ahead of time. These appointments include routine cleanings and orthodontic appointments. Mark these dates down on your calendar, the family calendar, and for older teens, their personal calendars. Having the dates saved in multiple places keeps forgetfulness away.
Book your child’s back-to-school dental checkup and cleaning today!
If you’re looking for a great pediatric dental care team in the greater Nebraska area, Pediatric Dental Specialists welcomes you to visit one of their four locations.
You can schedule your child’s back-to-school appointments and preschedule future visits by calling your favorite office or filling out this online form.