Every parent understands the back-to-school routine: buying new clothes and school supplies, and the excitement of kids meeting new teachers and meeting new classmates. While there’s a lot to handle when kids are going back to school, most parents forget about one critical thing—ensuring their kids maintain a healthy dental routine to ensure a productive school year. With dental problems like cavities resulting in more than 51 million lost school hours each year, it’s easy to see why parents need to take oral health care seriously for school-going children.
Prevention and early detection have always been the hallmarks of avoiding dental issues. As you plan to take your kids to your family pediatrician for back to school check-ups, make sure dental check-ups are part of that. Here are 5 back-to-school dental tips to maintain a healthy habit.
1. Plan Dental Appointments in Advance
With so much going on during the summer, from vacations to camping, most parents find themselves dealing with the all too familiar “last minute rush”. If you want to avoid this during the school year, you need to plan and book your child’s dental appointment early enough. It’s normal to find pediatric dentist appointments filling up quite quickly, so make it a priority to book yours in advance. This way, you’ll be able to handle other plans with ease.
It’s advisable to book an appointment even before school starts again for the year, considering the hectic schedule that you’ll have to deal with as you head into the school year. The last thing you want is having your child sitting through a dental appointment during a school day when they possibly had a long day of learning. The back-to-school dental visit includes examinations of the whole teeth, mouth, gums, and jaws to ensure your kid’s oral health is in good condition.
2. Develop a Dental Care Routine
Even before your kids return to school, you should have an established dental care routine. However, for most parents, back-to-school comes with a lot more work to do to ensure the right balance between family work and school work. Despite the busy schedule, parents need to develop a back-to-school dental routine and stick to it. This is one of the most important back-to-school dental tips to ensure your kids don’t neglect brushing and flossing routines.
Kids should brush their teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. In the rush to get to school, they may often forget or skip brushing their teeth. It’s important to supervise them and remind them of the importance of following a healthy dental care routine. For young kids, including some fun ways like allowing them to choose toothbrushes in their favorite colors or with favorite cartoon characters is a great way to make the routine more exciting.
3. Embrace Healthy Eating
For most of us, we don’t often think of how eating can affect our oral health. Many of the foods we eat that are considered unhealthy for our bodies are also unhealthy for our teeth, and this is especially true for young kids. Sticky, sugary, and starchy foods and drinks often end up getting caught in the small gaps in between the teeth, causing cavity issues and tooth decay. To prevent these dental problems, make sure to only pack healthy snacks like fruits, veggies, whole grain bread, nuts, yogurts, and cheese in their lunch box.
Another important back-to-school dental tip is to discuss with your kids about the types of foods they are eating at school so they can become more familiar with what is healthy and unhealthy. Before coming up with a diet plan for home and even back-to-school, it’s important to inform and involve your kids in the planning process, even from a young age. While engaging in snacks once in a while is okay, focus more on foods and drinks that promote healthy teeth. If your kids love the outdoors or are into sports, make sure they’re well hydrated. Avoid sugary drinks like sodas and juices and teach them the importance of taking water regularly throughout the day.
4. Stay One Step Ahead of Emergencies
Considering that dental emergencies can happen at any time, it’s important to stay prepared. Consider creating your own dental emergency kit and stock it with a gauze, ibuprofen, a handkerchief, a small container to store broken or lost teeth, and your dentist’s contact information.
Try this back-to-school dental tip: During your dental appointment, get a few of your dentist’s business cards and keep one in your first aid kit, one in your wallet and another one in your child’s backpack. Ensure your child knows what to do during an emergency while at school.
Your child could get injured when playing at school, accidentally fall and get a dental injury or even suffer from unexpected severe pains due to cavity problems. Having your dentist’s contacts at hand is vital. This makes it easy to contact your dentist immediately so you can get advice on the steps you need to take to get any dental emergency situation in control.
5. Regularly Visit the Dentist
A back-to-school dental appointment should not be your last. You should try to visit your pediatric dentist at least twice a year to get your child’s teeth checked and cleaned. Your dentist plays a critical role in monitoring your child’s oral health as they grow. They’ll be able to identify teeth and jaw development problems early, see where improvements are needed, and recommend the best dental care hygiene routines, treatment options like composite fillings, and back-to-school dental tips that you need to follow to maintain the best health for your kid’s teeth.
There is no better way to maintain your child’s dental health than to embrace preventative dental care. Your ultimate goal is to ensure that your school-going kids are following a strict dental routine and maintaining dental hygiene in every aspect of their lives. Regular visits to the dentist will also help you catch issues before they become major dental problems that will cost you valuable time and money down the line.
At Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dental, we strive to give you and your child the highest quality care at every visit. Whether you want to book a back-to-school dental appointment or arrange bi-annual dental check-ups, feel free to contact us today. We have multiple locations in the Reno, Nevada area for your convenience.