Back to school time means getting new crayons, a super cool backpack, and scheduling physical appointments. While you’re preparing for back-to-school shopping, take a step back and think about the tools your child needs. This doesn’t just mean what they need for school, it means considering the necessary tools needed to maintain a healthy mouth.
According to the American Dental Association, a dental examination is just as important as booster shots. An exam should, therefore, be a regular part of back-to-school preparations. Dental pain is never fun, but if your scholar experiences it while at school, it can lead to difficulty eating, speaking, playing and learning. If the pain requires a trip to the dentist, your child will likely have to miss school as well.
Dental Hygiene Checklist for the New School Year
Here are a few things to include in your child’s back-to-school checklist:
Regular Brushing and Flossing
While you’re out grabbing notebooks and pencils, be sure to stop on the dental care aisle for some floss and a new toothbrush, too! Get your kids into the habit of brushing two to three times a day. Brushing regularly is a healthy lesson they’ll carry for the rest of their lives. You should change your little one’s toothbrush every three months or so, or immediately after an illness. To excite your child about brushing, try picking up their favorite character or color toothbrushes. In addition to these tools, you may want to pick up a fluoride mouthwash to prevent decay.
You can also send your child to school with tooth floss in their backpacks. If they do get something lodged in their teeth, they’ll be able to remove it without having to wait until the end of the day. Plus, flossing after every meal is a great habit to get into!
Have a Plan for Dental Emergencies
Most school nurses routinely deal with oral emergencies and are ready to help your child if they are injured at school. If your little student is injured at school, be sure to bring them to the dentist immediately so the issue can be resolved. In the event that your child is bleeding, apply pressure with sterile gauze on the way to your appointment. If the bleeding subsides, you can also use a cold compress.
If your child loses a tooth while at school or at a sports practice, gently handle the tooth by the root and not the crown. Bring the tooth with you to your appointment.
Eating Healthy Snacks and Lunches
You’re probably already thinking about this one, but not only does eating a healthy lunch keep your little one energized and healthy, but it also promotes good dental hygiene. Some lunch and snack ideas that are easily-packable and offer plenty of oral health benefits include:
- Raw vegetables and fruits
- Dairy products such as milk, cheeses, and yogurts
- Whole grains
If your child eats lunch from the school cafeteria, review the healthy choices that are available before the first day of school. The biggest choice to avoid is any sugary foods and soft drinks. Instead, have them choose a fresh piece of fruit and water to quench their sweet tooth and thirst!
Wearing Properly Fitted Mouthguards
Whether your child plays after school sports or participates in PE and playground activities, it’s important that they protect their teeth. Wearing a mouthguard is the best way to prevent any dental emergencies in the event that your child gets hurt.
Book a Back to School Appointment in Advance
Planning your back to school appointment early is the best way to ensure your little one is prepared for the school year with a bright and healthy smile.
At Pediatric Dentistry, we attempt to schedule appointments at your convenience. We suggest that preschool and school-age children should be seen in the morning. If you need to make a dental appointment on a school day, dental appointments are an excused absence and we can provide a note if needed. Missing school can be kept to a minimum when regular dental care is continued.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our conveniently located offices!