School is in session and you have been going through your back to school checklist. You bought your children backpacks, clothes and sports gear. You scheduled haircuts and visited their pediatrician, but did they have their dental check up? A dental check up is an essential part of the back to school checklist. To make the back to school transition a little easier, here is your back to school dental check list:
1. Oral Hygiene:
It is important for children to brush at least twice daily and floss. Younger children, under age 6, will need the help of an adult to brush the harder to reach areas. To encourage children to brush after every meal, allow them to pick out their own travel size toothbrush and toothpaste to take to school. Look for a toothbrush with soft bristles and a fluoride containing toothpaste. Additionally, dental flossers are an easy way to floss on the go!
The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends eating breakfast, because breakfast eaters tend to score higher on tests, concentrate better, solve problems more easily and have better muscle coordination. Pack healthy lunches and encourage children to participate in making their lunch. They may be less likely to trade with classmates or throw it away. Don’t forget to pack the after school snacks. Many children go directly to sports practice after school and often turn to sugary foods and drinks from vending machines when they don’t have other options.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends children wear mouthguards for sports like soccer, football, lacrosse, hockey, baseball, basketball, wrestling and gymnastics. Ask your pediatric dentist about customfit mouthguards for the best protection. Additionally, minimize the intake of sugary sports drinks. Water is a much better option to stay hydrated. If children do consume a sugary drink, try to minimize the drinking time, use a straw and rinse after.
4. Orthodontic Retainers:
If your child has recently had their braces removed, they probably have to wear retainers. Remind children to place their retainer into its case when taking it out to eat. Many retainers get misplaced or thrown out when placed on cafeteria trays or in napkins.
According to the AAPD, dental decay is still the most common chronic disease among US children. Regular dental check ups and good oral hygiene can help prevent dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily, are better able to learn and smile with confidence.