The Dentist From a Child' Point of View

Strong Teeth; Strong Mind! Three Dental Care Tips For Back To School

When the kids head back to school for the year, your entire schedule and lifestyle tends to change. To ensure their dental health remains a priority during this transition, follow these dental care tips for back to school time.

Put a one-time-use tooth brushing tool in their lunch.

If your child eats lunch partway through the day and then sits in class all afternoon, the sugars from any lunch items will sit on the teeth and contribute to decay. There's an easy way to prevent this! Several companies make one-time-use tooth brushing tools that slip over the finger and can be used to brush the teeth without water or toothpaste. If you pack your child's lunch, include one of these each day, and show you child how to use it after mealtime. If your child buys hot lunch at school, pack a package of these brushing tools in his or her backpack, and encourage your child to use one daily. Keep count of the tools to make sure your child is actually using them.

Send tooth-healthy snacks and lunch items.

You don't have complete control over what your child eats at school. There will likely be sugary cupcakes for birthdays, some sugary drinks served with hot lunch, and cookies offered by well-meaning teachers. Balance out these treats by sending in some more tooth-friendly snacks with your child. Baby carrots are a good choice since their texture helps scrub the teeth clean. Cheese and crackers are full of tooth-healthy calcium, and low-sugar cereal bars are often fortified with minerals like magnesium and fluoride that your child's teeth need to stay strong. If you pack your child's lunch even once or twice per week with items like this, you can at least balance out some of the less-healthy items they're eating at school.

Set up a regular morning routine that includes tooth brushing.

When you're scurrying around to get ready for school in the morning, it's easy to forget  to have your child brush his or her teeth. You'll be less likely to forget if you establish a regular morning routine that involves tooth brushing, and then follow that same routine each morning. For instance, you could have your child get out of bed, go downstairs to eat breakfast, immediately brush his or her teeth, get dressed, pack the school bag, and then head out the door. Your child will catch onto the routine after a week or two, so you don't have to do as much prodding and reminding.

When your child heads off to school to strengthen his or her mind, make sure the teeth are also getting strengthened with the simple tips above. A little effort will pay off in the long run as your child's risk of cavities and gum disease decreases.

To learn more, contact a dentist like Maria E Marzo, D.D.S., PC.