It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to a close and it’s time to adjust to a back-to-school mindset. Instead of days spent at the pool, your child’s free time will soon be filled with after-school sports, music lessons and homework. It’s best to begin thinking about their oral health needs now before the hectic school year begins.
From establishing an oral hygiene routine to packing healthy lunches, here are some tips to start the school year off on a healthy note.
Establish a Routine
While you hopefully did your best to keep up a good oral health routine this summer, activities like family visits, vacations or days at the beach can make it easy to get off track. Back-to-school is a good time to reset those healthy habits. Plus, if your child begins practicing a smart oral health routine now, they’re more likely to follow healthy habits throughout the year.
A few weeks before the first day of school, establish a regular brushing and flossing routine for your family. Your children should brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months. If your family has been using the same toothbrushes all summer, back-to-school shopping is the perfect time to pick up new ones.
Flossing is just as important as brushing. The American Dental Association recommends flossing once a day to prevent cavities and gum disease. Have your kids get in the practice of flossing every night to ensure their smile is healthy and cavity free.
Pack Healthy Lunches
After a summer of ice cream and other cool treats, try to make your child’s diet a bit more nutritious by packing healthy lunches.
Calcium and Vitamin D are important for your child’s oral and overall health. Calcium makes your child’s teeth and gums healthy and strong, and Vitamin D maximizes calcium absorption. Calcium and Vitamin D are found in a variety of foods that are easy to include in packed lunches, including low-fat string cheese, hard-boiled eggs, tuna fish and even broccoli. Try this tooth-friendly yogurt parfait as a way to add more calcium to your child’s lunch.
When packing a beverage in your child’s lunch, choose water instead of sugary juices. The more sugar your child consumes, the more likely they are to develop cavities. To add more flavor to water, you can squeeze in some lemon or lime. If you decide to occasionally include juice, make sure it’s a juice box with a straw, or provide a straw for your child to use. This lessens the sugar’s contact with your child’s teeth, making cavities less likely.
Additionally, try to incorporate tooth-friendly foods into your child’s lunch, such as whole grains, crunchy fruits, raw veggies, yogurt, low-fat cheese or nuts. Limiting sugary snacks in lunches can help prevent tooth decay, which is the most common chronic disease among children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, if you do give your child a sugary treat, it is best to do so during their regular meal. The increase in saliva from eating an entire meal can help wash away sugar and other food particles that can lead to cavities.
Schedule a Dentist Appointment
Before you know it, your child’s life will be consumed with after-school activities, and they won’t have as much time to fit in a dentist appointment. Take advantage of TruAssure’s individual and family dental plans, which cover not just two, but three cleanings per year. If the dentist discovers a cavity or another issue during the appointment, your child can get treatment before school starts.
With a healthy smile, your child can begin the school year with confidence. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today, and enjoy the last few weeks of summer before school begins.