Summer is in full swing, but before you know it, it will be time to get your child ready for the new school year. While there are all the usual things to do to get ready for school, like buying new clothes and school supplies, you should also make a back to school dental plan for your child. Keeping your child’s mouth healthy is essential in order for them to have a productive school year. Just follow these back to school children’s dental tips, and your child will be ready to take on the new year at school in no time.
1. Plan Ahead for Appointments
There’s a lot going on during the summer. Between family vacations and playdates, the school year can sneak up on you if you’re not careful. If you wait until the last minute to book your child’s preventative dentist appointment, you can be out of luck. Back-to-school appointments tend to fill up quickly, so make it a priority to make your child’s appointment well in advance. That way, you have the freedom to plan around your other plans.
A good back to school children’s dental tip is to make their appointment before school starts again for the year. Your child’s schedule will only get more hectic as they head into the school year and start all of their extracurricular activities. Getting them to the dentist during the summer gives you one less thing to worry about later.
If you can’t get an appointment during the summer, try not to overload your child’s schedule with appointments. After a long day of school, some children may feel too stressed to sit through a dental appointment.
2. Keep Healthy Diets on Track
With barbecues and parties and ice cream trucks abound, summer can be a difficult time for eating healthy. However, a healthy diet is just as important for your child’s teeth as brushing and flossing. While it’s okay to allow your child snacks once in a while, a simple back to school dental tips for kids is to opt for mouth-healthy foods. Avoid sticky, sugary, or starchy snacks that can stick to teeth and lead to tooth decay. Opt for snacks like non-citrus fruit, cheeses, or almonds.
If your child enjoys playing outside, ensuring that they stay hydrated is very important. However, many drinks like sports drinks and fruit juices contain a ton of added sugar. When that sugar sticks to their teeth, it provides a breeding ground for cavity-causing bacteria. Soda, with its high acid content, is also a no-go. The acid content in soda can break down enamel on teeth, which can lead to sensitivity and decay. Whenever possible, stick to plain old water to keep your child hydrated –– and you’ll avoid the need for dental fillings down the road!
3. Encourage Good Oral Health at Home
Your child’s back to school dental appointment will be made much easier if it’s a cavity-free visit. You can help your child keep their teeth healthy by encouraging them to keep up proper oral hygiene habits throughout the summer. Without the routine of the school day to keep them on track, children can become less stringent about brushing their teeth, so do your best to encourage them. Back to school children’s dental tips vary by age, so make sure your sticking to age appropriate oral care.
For children 6 years and under, parents should be doing the brushing for them. At this age, children still lack the fine motor skills they need to thoroughly brush. Older children can start trying to brush on their own, but you should supervise and take charge if they’re doing anything improperly.
Older children age 7 to 12 generally know how to care for their teeth and gums, but they may be lazy about it. Brushing and flossing can seem tedious to them, and you might find that your child tries to avoid these activities. It’s important to make sure that they’re brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, so hold your children accountable.
Once children hit their teen years, they tend to be more responsible for self care habits. This is a critical time for oral health — the habits that your child establishes during their teenage years often carry over into adulthood, so make sure they continue to brush and floss regularly.
4. Be Prepared for Emergencies
No one likes to think about what will happen if their child has a dental emergency, but it’s always better to be prepared for those situations. It’s a good idea to create your own dental emergency kit. Stock it with a handkerchief, gauze, a small container to store broken/lost teeth, ibuprofen, and your dentist’s contact info.
While you’re at your child’s dental appointment, try this back to school children’s dental tip: grab a few of your dentist’s business cards. Keep one in your wallet, one in your first aid kit, and tuck another one into your child’s backpack. That way, you’ll always have your dentist’s contact info on hand. Always contact your dentist in case of a dental emergency — they’ll be able to advise you and your child on what to do. Keeping a card in your child’s backpack is good practice in case something happens while they’re at school.
The end of the summer can be a bummer for children. No one wants vacation to end! However, you can make things a little easier for them by keeping their oral health on track with these back to school children’s dental tips. Your child will head back to school feeling confident in their healthy smile. Contact us and make your child’s appointment today.