Parents, whether you rejoice or mourn the passing of summer, back-to-school time is upon us. We know how important it is to prepare our children with the correct school supplies and booster immunizations, but do you remember to schedule a dental checkup for them? The American Dental Association recommends a thorough dental exam for every child returning to school.
Tooth decay is the most common health complaint among American children. Cavities and other oral problems can cause pain, inhibit concentration and learning, and cause missed hours of school. For younger children, tooth problems can affect emerging speech patterns.
Here are some tips to help your kids keep their healthy smile strong!
- Morning schedules are tight when a new school year begins. Kids may be accustomed to a more laid-back schedule. Parents, it’s very important to wake your children up early enough to have a healthy breakfast at home, followed by brushing teeth. Don’t send them out the door with a toaster pastry and let all that sugar sit on their teeth all day!
- Teach your child healthy eating habits at home. Healthy eating, including getting plenty of calcium-rich foods plus fruits and vegetables, is one of the greatest contributors to dental health and overall health.
- Many schools have gardens and encourage children to help maintain them. This is a great way to reinforce healthy eating choices. Parents are usually welcomed to get involved too!
- Be sure to get a well-fitting mouth guard for all students who play sports during or after school.
- If your child packs a lunch, you have a lot of control over what your child consumes (and doesn’t consume). If sweet treats aren’t stocked at your house, they can’t go into the lunch box. Have plenty of fruit, cheese, and yogurt available to pack. Crunchy, raw cut vegetables are another great addition to the lunch box. Remember an ice pack so that foods stay fresh.
- If your child eats foods prepared by the cafeteria, instruction from parents about choices is important. Review the lunch menu with your child each morning and help them choose the best low-sugar foods. Also, limit the number of times per week your child can buy dessert after lunch.
- Remind your child to choose milk or water at lunch rather than juice or soda. Even the natural sugars in 100% fruit juice can cause tooth decay.
- Bottled water contains no fluoride. Many municipal sources of tap water do provide fluoride. If bottled water is the main water source for your child, speak to your child’s pediatrician or dentist about the need for a fluoride supplement.
- Even though schedules are more rushed in the evening, continue to model good oral care habits after dinner and make sure your children brush and floss before going to bed each night.
At Colson Dental Group, we wish all our young patients success in the coming school year! As always, don’t hesitate to call us at 919-231-6053 with any questions or concerns about your children’s oral health.