5 Secrets for the Best Back-to-School Smile

Back to school means back to a busy schedule! Kids are busy from morning until night with school, extracurricular activities, and hanging out with friends. Therefore, brushing their teeth may fall by the wayside. However, it's important to establish a good routine now because maintaining good oral health into adulthood is key to avoiding gum disease and cavities.

Group of children smiling, standing in a circle with arms around each other

Here are some back-to-school dental tips for establishing the best routine possible for your child.

Establish A Routine

Your child's schedule probably changes a lot throughout the school year, so it's important that they know how to take care of their teeth regardless of what time it is or where they are. Create a routine that they can follow every day to ensure that their teeth are clean and healthy. Ideally, they should brush first thing in the morning before they go to school and then right before bed as well.

Flossing is just as important as brushing when it comes to keeping teeth healthy and avoiding tooth decay. Many kids dread flossing because it can be painful when the gums are tender, if the toothbrush bristles are too hard, or if they wait too long between brushings. Make it fun by seeing who can floss the most each day. You can also make a game of flossing to make it more appealing to them.

Start Going To Bed Early

Good habits should be established early, and sleeping is one of them! Going to bed at a decent hour will allow your child's body to recuperate from the day and get the rest it needs. Children and adults alike need their rest in order to be healthy and perform their best at school or work.

If you've let your child's bedtime routine go by the wayside over the summer break, now is a great time to pick it back up again. Set a regular bedtime and wake-up time for you and your children. Try to get them to bed early enough that they fall asleep within a half hour or so. This way, they will be well-rested in the morning and ready for school!

Avoid Sugary Drinks And Treats

It should come as no surprise that sugar is a leading cause of cavities in the United States. This is because bacteria in your mouth feed off of the sugar you consume and produce harmful acids as a result. These acids eat into the enamel of the teeth and break down the protective layer of your teeth and gums. This is why it's so important to avoid sugary foods and beverages throughout the day.

The drinks to avoid include soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks, as well as fruit juices and drinks made with real fruit. Sticky candies like caramels or lollipops are also bad for the teeth because they leave behind a sticky residue on the teeth that can lead to tooth decay. Other sweets your child should limit or avoid are cookies, cakes, donuts, and other starchy snacks that can stick to their teeth for long periods of time and cause decay.

Drink Water

Drinking plenty of water every day is very important for many reasons. Not only is it good for your child's overall health, but it will also help keep their teeth clean and mouth fresh too! Drinking water throughout the day helps to keep their breath fresh and keeps food debris from sticking to your teeth and causing cavities and other issues. Not to mention water has zero calories and is good for weight loss as well. It's a win-win situation all around!

Schedule A Dental Visit

A dentist can help your child establish a healthy routine for your back-to-school schedule. This includes setting a regular time for nightly brushing and flossing, getting enough rest each night, drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated, and avoiding sugary or acidic food that could harm your teeth. During your child's back-to-school visit with the dentist, you will also be able to discuss any concerns you have about your child's dental health or your own

Besides, there are some circumstances where visiting the dentist should be a priority before the start of school. For example, if your child plays a contact sport, has braces or other corrective devices, or suffers from bruxism, then you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. You should also call your dentist if you notice anything out of the ordinary with your child's teeth, gums, or mouth.

To learn more about Little Bytes Pediatric Dentistry, Palo Alto, or to schedule an appointment to meet our dentists and team, call us at (650) 322-9837.

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