Studies suggest that around a third of children miss school because of oral health problems, but their absence could be prevented with proper dental care. With so many children having missed some of their education this last year, it is essential that parents do everything that they can to minimize school absences, and you can do this by ensuring that your child’s teeth are in the best possible condition before they return for the new school year.
Here’s our top back to school dental health tips.
Your dentist isn’t just there to be visited if your child experiences toothache or another dental problem. They are also active advocates of preventative dental care and, along with regular visits to check on the health and condition of your child’s teeth, there is a range of treatments that are designed specifically to prevent problems from occurring – such as sealants and fluoride treatments, which can protect your child’s teeth from decay.
Whether you are packing snacks for your child or a full lunchbox, making the right choices can be instrumental in keeping their teeth healthy. While they may prefer sugary treats, healthy choices can lower their risk of developing decay and gum disease. Sugars from sweet snacks and simple starches will increase plaque production, which forms on the teeth until it can be brushed away – which won’t be until your child gets home from school. Crunchy vegetables and cubes of cheese are some of the healthiest snacks you can offer.
When it comes to giving your child a drink to take to school, water is by far the best choice. Not only does it not contain any sugars or colorings that could harm or stain your child’s teeth, but it also helps to neutralize any acids and wash away bacteria and food debris before it can form plaque. Proper hydration will also help your child to concentrate and achieve to their full potential at school.
The best way to protect the long term health of your child’s mouth and teeth is to make sure that they are brushing their teeth properly. They should be using a soft-bristled brush twice each day and fluoride toothpaste, brushing for at least two minutes each time. It isn’t too soon to teach them the importance of flossing either, and this should ideally be done every day before bed. You are your child’s role model and if they can see you demonstrating these habits, they are more likely to follow suit. However, as most parents know, toothbrushing can struggle to hold a child’s attention so you should try and make the process fun. Depending on the age of your child you could use a sticker reward chart to represent their good habits, let them pick their own toothbrush, or even let them listen to music or watch a 2-minute cartoon while they brush. You know your child best so find what motivates them and use it!
If you would like more back to school dental health tips, or to schedule an appointment for your child, please don’t hesitate to contact our children’s dentistry team today.