As the kids head back to school, they’ll no doubt be equipped with new stationery and the latest school uniform, smiling from ear to ear. But what do they need to do to maintain this pearly-white smile?
The American Dental Association has suggested that back to school preparations should include dental examinations, as they feel these are just as important as booster shots and immunizations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, untreated tooth decay is found in 19 percent of children aged 2 to 19, which makes it the most common chronic infectious disease.
This disease or dental pain can lead to difficulties with learning, playing, speaking and eating, and could mean that they miss school as you try to find someone to help you find an emergency dentist near you.
So before your child goes back to school, here are some important things you should consider:
Book Regular Appointments with Your Dentist
To prevent dental problems, it’s important that regular examinations are carried out that will diagnose any potential issues and allow the dentist to provide the right treatment before it gets worse. Both you and your child’s teachers may not realize that your child is suffering from a dental problem, which is why these checkups are important on a regular basis.
You may find that your dentist suggests sealants or fluoride treatments to prevent any further decay. An early diagnosis will help them to treat the problem effectively, saving your child pain and missed hours at school.
Get into a Brushing and Flossing Routine
When you head off to buy their new stationery or uniform, take a trip down the dental aisle to stock up on everything they need to carry out regular brushing (using fluoride toothpaste) and flossing. Let your child pick out several new toothbrushes so you have some spare ones ready for when you need to change them after a few months or after your child has been ill.
It can be difficult to remember when you need to change your toothbrush, so place it on the calendar or consider changing them every time your child’s report cards come out! You can also ask your dentist how often they’d recommend changing your toothbrushes.
Eat Healthy Snacks and Lunches
If you’re providing your child with a packed lunch for school try to include snacks and lunch items that are healthy. These include fruit, yogurt, raw vegetables, cheese, milk and grains. Alternatively, if your child is eating in the school cafeteria it’s good to educate him or her on how they should be balancing their food and eating healthily. This will, hopefully, allow them to make the right food choices at school. However, you will find that most schools have implemented healthy eating programs anyway, providing this good balance as standard.
You should also avoid soft drinks and sugary foods where possible.
Protect Teeth with a Mouthguard
When your child’s participating in sports, it’s a good idea to get them to wear a mouthguard. This varies from playground activities to organized sports and doesn’t necessarily mean contact sports only. As children are prone to accidents, protecting their teeth with a mouthguard can help to save them from any dental traumas that could affect their oral health. They should also wear a mouthguard when they’re out on their scooter or bicycle.
However, if you do find that your child falls on their face, you should visit the dentist or nurse immediately because even though everything may seem OK to start with, dental issues can sometimes develop slowly. What was a minor problem could, in fact, be affecting the root of the tooth.
If your child does knock a permanent (adult) tooth out, this should be placed back into the right position within 30 minutes. Even if it looks dirty, it’s important not to scrub the tooth because this could kill the root of the tooth.
By refreshing these basic things when your child goes back to school, it’ll help to make sure their teeth remain strong and healthy. With the hustle and bustle of busy school mornings, it can be hard to remember to brush teeth and floss. But by getting into a regular routine, you and your child will be able to make sure their teeth are cared for properly. And by getting the right balanced diet in place from the offset, it’ll allow you to make sure your child is eating the right foods both at home and at school.
Mike Plambeck is a dental marketing professional who writes about the world of online dental marketing as well as educational dental health topics. He lives in Lincoln, NE and raises 2 kids, Noah and Dani, along with his wife Marissa.