As a new school year begins and your family adjusts to routines and schedules, now is a great time to begin or reinforce healthy habits. While you may begin implementing earlier bedtimes and attempt to cut back on screen time, we want to encourage you to also brush up on healthy dental hygiene habits with your kids. Here are our top five suggestions on ways to keep your kids’ mouths happy and healthy.
Stick to the schedule.
If your kids aren’t already in a good dental hygiene routine, the beginning of the school year is the perfect time to start. Just like your child gets dressed and brushes her hair every morning, ensure that she is also brushing her teeth for two minutes every morning before she leaves for school. In the same way, create a standard nighttime routine that includes your child brushing and flossing his teeth before he goes to bed. Try to avoid letting your child make excuses for these practices; consistency and repetition will pay off in the long run!
Buy new “dental supplies.”
In the same way that you let your children pick out new school supplies, consider letting them pick out a new toothbrush and toothpaste to kick off their new school routine. Just like a new backpack and notebook can be motivating when starting new school classes, a cool new toothbrush and toothpaste can help motivate your children to stick to healthy oral hygiene habits. If your child wants to take their dental hygiene to the next level, especially if he has braces or any other dental appliances, consider letting her pick out a travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste to carry in her backpack for after lunch.
Stock up on healthy snacks.
The start of a new school year is the perfect time to get rid of sugary snacks and drinks and stock up on healthy choices instead. In addition to the health benefits, having your children cut back on sugar will greatly help their chances of fighting off cavities. Foods and drinks with lots of sugar increase the levels of damaging acids that remain on their teeth and create decay. Encourage your children to stay away from school vending machines that are filled with sodas and juices and instead bring a plastic water bottle from home. For snacks, send your kids to school with fruits and nuts instead of candy or cookies. When your children do indulge in sugary treats, have them brush their teeth as soon as they are finished.
Consider going the extra mile.
In addition to the oral hygiene basics like brushing and flossing, did you know that there are a few other things you can do to help your kids fight cavities? The first thing you can do is make sure your child is using enough fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. While fluoride is added to most drinking water, if you use well water or worry your child isn’t getting enough fluoride on a regular basis, make sure he is using a toothpaste with fluoride in it and you can even have her rinse with a fluoride mouthwash at the end of every day. Aside from fluoride, another way you can go the extra mile on fighting cavities is by having your child get sealants. This is a simple procedure performed by your child’s dentist where sealants are placed on the grooves of teeth. This stops plaque and bacteria from remaining on hard-to-reach places on teeth and prevents cavities from forming.
Make an appointment with your dentist.
As you get out the calendar and start marking important dates, why not go ahead and make an appointment for your kids to have their routine checkups and dental cleanings? Remember that they should be visiting the dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. We would love to have your child at Cornerstone Family Dentistry, so make an appointment with us today!