Back to School Smiles: Healthy Tips
We can’t believe it is already August and back to school time! Whether your child started kindergarten today, or you’re an empty nester and just sent your kids off to college, this blog has all the tips on how to protect your children’s dental health during the new school year!
One of the most important tips for keeping your children’s mouths healthy during the school year is keeping an eye on what they are eating every day! If you send your child to school with a lunch box full of gummies, juice, cookies and other sugary snacks it is not so good for their teeth (or their health in general). The sugar that they consume during lunch or snack time will sit on your children’s teeth all day at school, and since most kids don’t brush their teeth until after dinner, this sugar sticks and stays around all day, creating an acidic environment in your child’s mouth that ultimately will create cavities. One of the best tips is very simple: send your child to school with healthy food and a water bottle.Most people do not get enough water on a daily basis, so besides all of the other benefits water provides to our bodies, water will help wash away some of sticky sugar sitting on your kids teeth to protect them from cavities. While juice is a tasty drink it is also packed full of sugar, so try to avoid juice boxes at lunchtime and stick to water! We also recommend filling your child’s lunchbox with healthy snacks – protein, fruits, veggies, grains, and nuts, and limiting their sugar intake to protect their teeth. But, we know that every once and awhile a Fruit Roll-Up is a perfect treat, so make sure your child is drinking water along with their treats to protect their teeth!
While we would love to see every child take a toothbrush and toothpaste to school and brush their teeth after lunch and snacks, we understand that this is not usually practical. So, make sure that they are at least brushing their teeth very well in the morning and at night time with a fluoride toothpaste, and flossing once a day as well. Not only will this ward off bad breath but it’s also important to wash away sugar and residue from the day’s food. Additionally, if your child eats a lot of treats at school for a birthday or holiday party, it’s best to encourage them to brush their teeth once more when they are home from school so that the sugar doesn’t sit on their teeth all day.
Another great tip is to make sure that your child has had their dental cleanings and gotten any recommended treatment done! Usually we recommend that children come in 2 times a year, and some of the busiest times of the year at the dentist office are fall, winter and spring break when children are available to come in for cleanings. Make sure to schedule these cleanings as soon as possible ensure there is room in the schedule for all your kid’s cleanings and possible needed treatment.
Following these tips we can all have a healthy August and new school year!