As summer days wind down, we’re reminded that it will soon be time for our children to return to school. Good oral health has a positive impact on a child’s development and overall health. We believe that every child deserves a healthy smile as they head off to school and progress through the year. These tips may help:
- If oral health routines have been lax during summer months, reestablish them. Begin by buying a new toothbrush and restocking other oral hygiene supplies.
- If your child hasn’t had an oral hygiene/dental checkup appointment recently, schedule one before they return to school. In addition to the benefits of preventively keeping teeth and gums healthy, it’s best when your dentist identifies any dental issues early and they can be addressed. Suggest that your college student schedules future visits now for the weeks of semester breaks.
- Encourage your child to avoid vending machines stocked with unhealthy options like sodas and snacks loaded with sugar, which create an environment for bacterial growth leading to tooth decay. Instead, pack these and other oral health friendly snacks: fresh fruit, yogurt, and carrot, celery or cheese sticks.
- Teach your child to avoid all sugary drinks, including sports drinks. Help them form the healthier habit of hydrating with water, which helps wash away food and cavity-causing bacteria from teeth.
- Remind your child to brush before leaving for school and after dinner. If it’s possible to brush and floss at school, add a toothbrush and floss-holder to their backpack. If your child wears braces, make sure they know how to care for them properly at school.
- Research and plan for dental emergencies, including what to do when your child has a toothache or accidentally loses a baby or permanent tooth. Tell your college-age student living in another city about our teledentistry option, which offers 24/7 virtual access to dental care when your dentist is not available or you are away from home.
- Your student may be so busy during the school year that their oral hygiene routine suffers. Monitor those habits and give reminders and encouragement as needed.
Implementing some of these suggestions will help set your student up for a successful transition back to school and keep them smiling throughout another academic year.