It’s that time of year again! The kids are back in school, supply shopping is at an end, and the excitement to get back into a classroom is still fresh. We do our very best as parents to make sure our children are prepared for whatever the school year has to throw at them, but sometimes without thinking about it, we forget other prep work that is equally as important, such as their oral health! Want to make this year even better for your kids? Here are a few helpful and healthy dental care tips you should add to your back to school checklist.
It’s Time for a Routine Checkup!
There’s no better time for a routine cleaning or cavity check like the beginning of a new school year. As the year goes on, you’ll only grow busier with school work and after school activities. Make sure to find time for the dentist while you still can. It’s also the ideal time to re-establish some basic dental hygiene education! Talk to your child’s dentist about treatment options (like sealants and fluoride treatments) that will keep unwanted cavities at bay.
Pack the Right Snacks
Go for the healthy snacks versus the unhealthy alternatives! As much as your kids might beg for it, try and avoid the sugary and salty snacks. Not only are they not the best for health-related reasons, but they can cause far more oral damage than you might think. Avoid foods and snacks that can potentially coat their teeth like sugary, gooey candy that can speed up tooth decay. You may be tempted to place healthier granola bars in their lunches, but go for crunchy over gooey. As for snacks that are great additives to any lunch, celery sticks, stringed cheese, and yogurt are all excellent alternatives to chips and candies.
Portable Brush and Toothpaste
If your older children have already developed a solid dental care routine, you can help them care for their teeth and gums even when you’re not around. Make sure you outfit your child with a portable toothbrush and toothpaste. Although you can’t assume your child will brush after every school lunch, you should give them every opportunity to. They may even enjoy brushing after their school lunch.
Bring On the Fun!
Of course, for many kids, proper hygiene can feel more like a chore than an enjoyable and reasonable habit to have. That’s why it’s important that you bring all the fun you possibly can into keeping their mouths clean. As a standard, brushing twice a day (for a minimum of 2-minutes), and flossing after dinner are good practices to keep. Need some inspiration?
- Be the Brushing Jukebox. Create a playlist of your child’s favorite songs, and let them choose one before you brush. Brush for the entirety of the song. Sing and brush at the same time. Have fun!
- The Power of Choice. Sometimes the simplest actions can help your child feel more involved in their dental care. Next time your shopping list includes toothbrushes and toothpaste, let your child choose what they’ll use. It gives them the chance to find a little independence, and of course, they’ll feel happy that they got to make their own choice.
- Create a Goals Board. Get your kids involved in creating a “goals” board, or a habit tracker! Every time they achieve a daily goal, let them choose a fun sticker and put it on the board for that day and particular habit. Not only will it help them see their habits progress, but you’ll get a fun and exciting sticker board out of it.