As kids head back to school after the longest summer ever, it will be tough to get them back into a regular dental care routine. But it absolutely necessary! Teaching your kids good dental habits can save them a lot of pain in the future. Back to school is the perfect time to reinforce those healthy dental habits.
- Schedule a Back to School Dental Checkup
Start the school year off on the right foot by scheduling a dental checkup for your students at Greenspoint Dental in Houston. Regular dental checkups are important for making sure there aren’t any potential issues and taking care of issues before they become bigger problems. Plus, cleaning or whitening ensures your child will have a beautiful smile in school photos.
- Oral Care Should Be Part of the Morning Routine
Your kids should brush their teeth for two minutes every morning and floss. This needs to be part of their morning routine. For example, teach that as soon as they get out of the shower, they need to brush and floss their teeth. You may even want to institute a fresh breath check before the kids leave for school to make sure they are brushing.
- And the Evening Routine
Along those same lines, kids should have to brush their teeth for two minutes as part of their evening or bedtime routine. After the pajamas are put on, it’s time to brush their teeth before bed. If brushing teeth is part of your child’s morning and evening routine, then you have taught great oral care habits. At Greenspoint Dental in Houston, we strongly encourage our patients to brush twice daily.
- Pack a Tooth Healthy Lunchbox
When it comes time to pack their lunchbox for school, focus on packing tooth healthy foods and snacks. You want to avoid sugary foods and drinks. Instead, pack foods that are good for their teeth, such as apples and cheese. For more tips, see our blog Lunchbox Ideas for Healthy Smiles.
- Send a Water Bottle
Instead of sending them to school with a juice box that is high in sugar and will wreak havoc on their teeth, just send them to school with a water bottle. Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your teeth – especially if it has fluoride in it.
According to the American Dental Association, “In 2011, the Canadian city of Calgary stopped adding fluoride to its water. Curious about the impact, researchers compared Calgary second graders with kids in the same age group in Edmonton, a Canadian city that has had fluoridated water since 1967. Their research […] found children in non-fluoridated Calgary had more tooth decay than children in the city with uninterrupted fluoridation.”
Plus, having their own water bottle is safer than drinking from school water fountains and sharing germs.
- Set Up Tooth Care Reminders for Kids
Kids are forgetful. If your kids are rushing around in the morning trying to get ready for school, it is wise to set up tooth care reminders for them. For example, set alarms on their phones, download a reminder app, or use your Alexa to remind them to brush their teeth before heading to school. Likewise, set up nighttime tooth care reminders. Speaking of apps, you can also download apps, such as BrushDJ, that time kids while they are brushing to ensure they brush for the full two minutes.
- Purchase New Dental Tools
As you fill your cart with back to school supplies and new clothes, remember to purchase new dental tools. According to the American Dental Association, “Replace toothbrushes every three to four months or more often if the bristles are visibly matted or frayed.” Most people don’t replace their toothbrushes often enough, so use back to school shopping as a clear time to buy new dental tools.
Here’s a hint – allow your kids to pick out their toothbrushes and other supplies so they will be more motivated to use them. Just make sure whatever items they choose have the ADA Seal of Approval.
- Get a Mouthguard
If your child will be playing any sports this school year (especially contact sports such as football or hockey), it is imperative that you get him or her a mouthguard. Mouthguards are real tooth savers in sports emergencies. ADA claims, “A 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis found the prevalence of dental trauma among mouth guard users to be 7.5% to 7.75% compared to 48.31% to 59.98% to non-users, and that mouth guard users were between 82% and 93% less likely to suffer dentofacial injuries.” And don’t just buy a mouthguard – insist your child wears it.
- Consult with an Orthodontist
The school years are the ideal time for individuals to get braces. According to Mouth Healthy, “Since abnormal bites usually become noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12, orthodontic treatment often begins between ages 8 and 14. Treatment that begins while a child is growing helps produce optimal results.” If your child is concerned about his or her teeth not being straight, it is time to schedule a consult with an orthodontist. At Greenspoint Dental in Houston, we also offer orthodontic treatment options.
- Explain Why Oral Hygiene Matters
Last but not least, parents need to explain to their kids why oral hygiene matters (and model it). Parents shouldn’t just tell kids to brush their teeth before school. They need to explain why they brush their teeth twice a day. For example, parents should explain that brushing their teeth twice a day removes the bacteria that can cause cavities. Plus, they should explain that brushing their teeth will prevent bad breath. They don’t want to go to school and have other students accuse them of having stinky breath.
When your student visits the dentist office in Houston, the dental care team will explain the importance of oral hygiene, too. But it starts at home.
Contact us to schedule an appointment!