Tooth decay is 20 times more common than diabetes and 5 times more common than childhood asthma. It is the most prevalent childhood condition.
Proper dental care needs to be a priority for you as you work to keep up your children’s health.
Here are 5 tips for your kids’ tooth care during back to school.
1. Make Oral Hygiene a Habit
When kids start a new school year, it is a great time to initiate some back to school dental tips.
New backpacks, a new grade and teacher, and getting up early are all part of back to school. It is easy to make proper dental care a habit at the same time.
Make it routine for children to brush their teeth before school each morning and before bed. If kids are told to do this each day at the same time, soon it will be a habit that they remember on their own.
Perhaps after getting dressed, they can brush their teeth or maybe right after they pack their lunches in their backpacks. Find a time that makes sense during your morning and implement an oral hygiene routine.
Children who are over 6 years old can start brushing on their own. However, parents need to supervise to make sure they are doing it right and for long enough.
You will need to brush the teeth for children under 6. At this age, they lack the fine motors skills to do a good brushing.
Set a tooth-brushing timer for two minutes and keep brushing until the timer ends. At their evening teeth brushing, you should include flossing as well.
2. Schedule Dental Appointments
One of the most important back to school dental tips is to make your kids’ dental appointment before school starts again.
Back to school time is a very busy time of year. If you can, schedule your children’s dental checkup during the summer.
If your dentist is booked up for the summer, make your next couple appointments well in advance. This allows you time to make your plans for the visit.
3. Healthy Eating for Tooth Care
In summer, it can be easy to get into the habit of sugary snacks, such as ice cream and smores. Once back to school time comes, it is time to get back into the routine of healthy meals and snacks.
Healthy eating is an important part of good oral care. Make sure you buy wise choices for your children’s lunches and help them make good choices when they pack their lunches.
Choose a variety of items from the four food groups, such as yogurt, veggies and fruits, and whole grains. Send water or milk as a drink and avoid sugary drinks and foods.
Eating healthy goes a long way in preventing cavities. Calcium in foods, such as milk and cheese, helps keep teeth strong. Fiber works to defend teeth against tooth decay.
4. Protect Teeth During Sports
If your children are involved in any sports, it is essential that they are fitted for a mouthguard.
A properly fitted mouthguard protects their mouth from serious damage from a ball, a kick or an elbow in the face. Having a tooth knocked out is one of the most serious dental emergencies there is. It is also very painful.
When a tooth has been knocked out, the nerves, blood vessels, and supporting tissues become damaged as well. These cannot be repaired so a root canal is needed.
It is best to avoid these dental emergencies with a protective mouthguard.
5. Replace Toothbrushes
It can be hard to remember how long it has been since your children’s toothbrushes were replaced.
Another of the best back to school dental tips is to time changing your toothbrushes with the school calendar. Start the school year with a brand-new brush. Then replace them at the beginning of each term and the end of the school year.
We hope you enjoyed these back-to-school tooth care tips. Book your dental checkup with Dr. Winkler to make sure your smile is as perfect as it can be.
Gernot Winkler, DDS, is dedicated to serving clients with general and family, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. Located in Fallbrook, Dr. Winkler sees patients throughout San Diego County including neighboring cities such as Fallbrook, Bonsall, Rainbow, and Temecula.