Change can be bittersweet but it is a good thing. The end of lazy afternoons, sweet indulgences, and late nights turn into beautiful trees changing color, frost that melts when the sun hits, and what has become all things pumpkin. Let’s say goodbye to the heavy wet air and hello to crisp mornings.
Maybe I will write about all that autumn deliciousness later, but we are here to talk about teeth, right?
Let’s say hello to a healthy back to school routine.
Tooth decay is largely preventable but it continues to be the most common chronic disease of children and adolescents.
Dental infections and pain can cause problems with regular activities like sleeping, eating, and learning that can lead to an un-fun school year. Start your little one off right with these 8 helpful tips.
- Schedule a check up
Children’s offices can be busy this time of year with everyone going back to school. Make sure you have any necessary school forms signed. For those who do not need school forms, schedule a check up to ensure a healthy start to the school year.
2. Establish healthy habits
Encourage your children to brush 2 times a day and floss once a day. Everyday. Make it an important part of their routine so they always know to make time for it, even if a morning seems chaotic.
3. Use a toothpaste with fluoride
Once children are able to spit well during brushing they should begin using fluoride toothpaste. Studies have shown that fluoride helps prevent cavities. Ask your dentist about toothpaste with fluoride.
4. Eat nutritious meals
We encourage tooth-friendly snack/ lunch items like fresh fruit, string cheese, vegetables, unsweetened applesauce, and nuts. Items like fruit roll-ups, granola bars, and candy can stick to teeth surfaces and cause decay. Avoid sticky items when possible.
5. Drink water
Choose water for your child’s lunch instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Water does amazing things for our bodies and is a much better option over anything else. If you want to make water more interesting for them, try adding fruits like sliced strawberries or lemons.
6. Buy fun toothbrushes
The American Dental Association recommends that you replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or when the bristles become frayed. Let your child select a toothbrush to help keep them motivated to brush. Disney has a line of toothbrushes that you can scan with The Disney Magic Timer app. The app shows a tooth brush brushing away toothpaste to reveal a scene of the character on the toothbrush you bought. My 2 year old will actually let me brush his teeth for a full two minutes with this app!
7. Ask your dentist about sealants
Get your tongue and run it over the chewing surfaces of your back teeth. You will feel bumps and grooves. Those grooves trap food and bacteria and it is very difficult to remove with a toothbrush. This is the most common area for decay in children and teens. Dental sealants are a thin coating that is applied to those grooves to make the surface smooth and protect them from decay.
8. Ask your dentist about mouth guards
One of the most common sports injuries for kids and teenagers are dental injuries. Your dentist can fit a sports mouth guard that is custom designed for their mouth. They provide superior protection for your little athlete.