It’s August, which means that school starts in the near future and for many families schedules change abruptly. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle a new school year brings, it’s easy to overlook some of the fundamental things your kids will need to have a healthy and happy academic year. Dental care and dental hygiene are tops on this list for a lot of people–they’re so basic and so obvious that they become invisible when we get busy! Not to worry, though; we have some solutions for keeping your child’s dental hygiene on track and ensuring that their school year is as good for their teeth as it is for their minds.
While schoolday mornings are notoriously busy and occasionally chaotic, it’s important to ensure that your children brush and floss their teeth after breakfast and when they get home from school. It may seem like a small thing, but starting the day with clean teeth and then later cleaning the teeth after a long and busy school day goes a long way towards keeping your offspring’s dental health on track during the academic year. We know that these are notoriously busy times of the day, but these are foundational dental hygiene activities and a must for clean and healthy teeth!
After regular brushing and flossing, the most important component of dental hygiene is diet. Towards that end, provide a healthy lunch during the school week and promote good eating habits at home. Childhood is the time in which lifelong habits are built, and by ensuring that your child has a firm idea of what healthy eating is, you’ll be providing the habits they need for a lifetime of dental health. So, if you pack your child’s lunch, ensure that it includes healthy foods your children enjoy and that they understand why those foods are there. If your child buys lunch at school, take some time to look over the menu, discuss it with them, and talk about making healthy choices within that framework.
Speaking of things your children will eat while you’re not around, let’s talk about sweets, candy, and the like. Children notoriously love sweet foods, and while there’s nothing wrong with that in moderation, excess sugar can lead to tooth decay. Towards that end, talk about dietary sugar with your kids. We promise they’ll listen–whether they act like it or not–and gently putting the idea in their heads that too much sugar can be bad for the teeth goes a long way in helping reinforce the good habits they’re building.
Another aspect of oral health that can slip during a busy school day involves orthodontics and prostheses. If your child has braces, a retainer, or some form of dental prosthetic, make sure they clean their orthodontics and prosthetics regularly. What that means will depend on the nature of the orthodontics or prosthetics in question, so talk to your oral health care provider and follow their directions.
All of these steps are important in maintaining your child’s oral health during the school year, but there are two more steps you can take outside of school that help a great deal. Firstly, ensuring a regular and effective brushing and flossing habit every day is one of the best things you can do for your child and their teeth, so ensure that oral hygiene is part of your daily routine both during the school year and year-round. Second, only to this is a regular schedule of dental exams and cleanings. By ensuring that your child sees their dentist regularly, you’ll help build further good habits, address problems before they start, and foster good communication and trust with your dental health care provider.
So with the school year just around the corner–or maybe even already here–don’t delay. Get in touch with us today and make an appointment. Our friendly staff will get you and your 12 and up a child in to see us and we’ll help ensure that this school year starts with clean and healthy teeth!