BTS (Back to School) = TMTD (Too Much To Do)! As parents, we all have a fair amount of trepidation about getting kids back into the structure of a new school year. Besides making adequate study time for homework, there is the frantic scheduling of after-school activities, carpools, etc.
But this year, let’s make Back To School a great time to get your family into new oral health routines. I promise, the following tips are simple – and they’ll make a difference as the year goes by:
SCHEDULE A DENTAL EXAM FOR YOUR CHILD: According to the American Dental Association, a dental exam is as important as immunizations and booster shots and should be a regular part of your regular back to school preparations. Tooth decay affects U.S. children more than any other chronic infectious disease. Dental pain or disease can lead to difficulty in eating, speaking, playing and learning – as well as hours of missed school.
GET THE KIDS INTO A REGULAR BRUSHING AND FLOSSING ROUTINE: As you’re doing your back to school shopping, head to the dental care aisle and buy new toothbrushes and floss. Children should change their toothbrushes every three months, or after an illness. (Here’s a suggestion: change their toothbrushes each time your child gets their report cards.) Make sure you get the kids into the routine of regular flossing, too.
SWITCH TO HEALTHIER LUNCHES AND SNACKS: Now is the time to re-evaluate what you’re packing for their lunches. Switch away from chips and sugary snacks. Include more grains, milk, cheese, raw veggies, yogurt and fruit. Also, try changing from juices to water.
INVESTIGATE MOUTHGUARDS FOR AFTER SCHOOL SPORTS: If your child participates in certain team sports, (like soccer, baseball, football, basketball and lacrosse) make sure they have a properly fitted mouthguard. This can prevent discomfort for them – and expense for you.