This time of year is a busy one for many Americans. As parents help their children prepare to go back to school, it can be difficult to keep up with the hustle and bustle. From purchasing new school supplies and clothes to making sure they have all of their classes straight and finishing last minute summer projects, oral health may be the last thing on your mind. Even so, that doesn’t make it any more important. So that your little one can have a successful school year without unexpected dental trips, read on for five tips to keep their smile healthy.
Tip #1: Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Cavities are areas of decay that develop on the teeth. This is often the cause of bad oral hygiene. To keep tooth decay at bay, make sure that your child brushes their teeth once in the morning and once at night. They should do it for two minutes each time and use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to avoid dental damage and strengthen their smile.
Your child should also floss their teeth every night after their last meal of the day. This will get rid of plaque and food particles stuck between their teeth so they don’t develop cavities there.
Tip #2: Replace Your Child’s Toothbrush
Be sure to get your child a new toothbrush every three to four months. This is about the time when the bristles will start to become frayed and worn, which will prevent them from properly cleaning their smile. You should also buy them a new one after they recover from an illness. This will keep them from accidentally reinfecting themself.
Tip #3: Pack a Healthy Lunch
Soda, pizza, and sweet treats like cookies are common lunch foods. Since they’re full of sugar, carbs, and starches, the bacteria in your child’s mouth will feed on them and release acids that attack their enamel and make them more susceptible to cavities. This can be avoided by packing your little one a lunch full of dentist-approved foods, such as:
- Pears, apples, carrots, celery, and other crisp, fresh fruits and veggies
- Cheese, milk, yogurt, and other low-fat or fat-free dairy products
- Chicken, turkey, and other lean meats
Tip #4: Have Your Child Wear a Mouthguard
If your little one plays football or soccer or other contact sports, make sure they wear a mouthguard. This will protect their teeth and other oral structures if they fall or get hit in the mouth. Though mouthguards can be purchased over-the-counter at many sporting good and drug stores, you can also visit your child’s dentist to ask about having one custom-made.
Tip #5: Schedule a Back-to-School Checkup
If it’s been more than six months since your child last visited their dentist, be sure to set up an appointment. Doing this before they go back to school means they won’t have to miss any class. During their visit, their dentist will do a thorough exam to make sure they don’t have any oral health issues developing. Your little one’s smile will also be professionally cleaned.
The back-to-school season is a busy one. By using the above tips, you can prevent dental emergencies from adding extra stress so your child can start the year off with a healthy smile!
About the Author
Dr. Jamie L. Guthrie opened her private dental practice in July of 2007. Since then, she has been treating patients in the Ardmore area with the quality, effective care they need to keep their smiles healthy and bright. She also offers oral health services to help your child go back to school with a healthy, happy, and brag-worthy beam. Visit her website or call (580) 224-9600 for more information or to set up an appointment.