The end of summer is an exciting and busy time as you prepare your children for the back to school season while trying to fulfill the last of your family’s vacation goals. Though there are many things on your checklist, a visit to the dentist should be included in your priorities. The American Dental Association states, “a dental examination is as important as immunizations and booster shots and should be a regular part of back-to-school preparations.” Statistics from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention report that tooth decay affects U.S. children more than any other chronic infectious disease and 19 percent of children ages 2 to 19 years old have untreated tooth decay. To help with this hectic time, check out the below dental tips to ease you and your family back into healthy habits for the year.
- Make use of the last of your children’s summer vacation by scheduling appointments for a cleaning and exam. Ask about sealants and fluoride to prevent decay (these are easy ways to stop cavities before they start). For high school to college aged students, this appointment is an opportunity to discuss cosmetic treatments like Invisalign or whitening before heading back to school.
- Are you packing lunchboxes? Be sure to select snacks that supply young mouths with the vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need. Rather than giving kids salty options like potato chips and crackers, opt for crunchy alternatives like celery sticks and baby carrots. Do your kids have a sweet tooth? Instead of candy or granola bars, give your children low fat yogurt with berries, freshly sliced watermelon, or cheddar cheese with apples. Additional healthy snack ideas include unsalted almonds and hummus with toasted whole grain pita triangles.
- It’s easy to set your kids up for success when they’re taught healthy habits can be fun! To ensure children maintain their brushing and flossing routine, start a sticker calendar to reward them for both activities. Play their favorite music as a stopwatch to make sure they’re brushing for two minutes. When it’s time to choose a new toothbrush, let them select their favorite color or theme so they’ll look forward to using it.
- Extra bacteria can be hiding on your children’s tongues. Teach them to complete their dental routine by brushing their tongue to remove extra tooth decaying bacteria.
- Are your children gearing up for school sports? Many kids do not wear mouthguards because they are not required despite other protective items like helmets and shoulder pads being mandated. Did you know athletes who don’t wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth? To prevent this, we suggest active kids visit our office for a custom-made mouthguard to help protect their teeth while they’re being physically active. The most effective mouthguards should be comfortable and fit properly, be easily cleaned and durable, and should not restrict speech or breathing. While enjoying activities, encourage kids to drink water rather than sugary sports drinks to stay hydrated.
Don’t let this frenzied time keep you from starting the school year with healthy smiles. Our team looks forward to serving you and your family’s dental needs. When calling for appointments, we will work to provide you with convenient scheduling options for all members of your family.
Let’s make sure your back to school season is filled with happy, healthy smiles!