As summer starts to wind down, many families are getting ready for a new school year: buying new school supplies, clothes, uniforms and equipment for sports and other extracurricular activities. However, you may be forgetting one important part of school readiness: oral health.
Just as important as making sure your children have their proper immunizations, their prescriptions filled, and their annual check-ups, dental health is just as important. As the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends, a dental exam should be a part of your family’s back-to-school plans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay affects almost 20 percent of children ages 2 to 19. This decay can bring about problems with speaking, eating, learning, and playing, as well as many missed days at school.
So how can you have your kids prepared for back-to-school when it comes to their oral health? Here are a few tips that will help your children be ready for the new school year with beautiful, healthy smiles!
4 Back To School Tips For Your Child
- If you haven’t started already, take your kids to have regular dental exams. Dental problems may not be noticeable at first, so it’s important to have a dentist perform checkups on a regular basis. Treatments such as sealants or fluoride treatments can also help with preventing future tooth decay. You dentist may also be able to find and treat tooth decay in its early stages so that your child can not lose time in school or be in pain.
- By having kids brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste and flossing on a regular basis, this will help prevent tooth decay. So, while you’re shopping for all those school supplies, make sure to go to the dental care section and pick up some toothbrushes and dental floss. Having extra toothbrushes is important when kids get sick—you should discard toothbrushes after an illness. Another way to remember to switch toothbrushes is on the day report cards come out. If you have any further questions, you can ask your dentist about the frequency of switching toothbrushes.
- Oral health is more than just brushing and flossing — it’s about eating healthy meals and snacks. Make sure that if your children have packed lunches, they contain items such as milk, cheese, yogurt, raw veggies, fruit, and whole grains. If your children have meals in the cafeteria, then make sure that the school’s lunch menu is adequate. Additionally, limit sugary drinks and foods.
- If your children are involved in sports, physical education, or activities on the playground, having a properly fitted mouth guard is a must. One random hit in the mouth from a ball or a fall could cause some major dental damage, so proper mouth protection can help prevent the pain of broken or knocked out teeth.
If you’re getting ready for your kids to head back to school and you haven’t scheduled a dental exam for them, contact Iowa Pediatric Dental Center for an appointment today, with three offices to choose from!