It’s Back-to-School Time!
You’re Ready…But Is Your MOUTH Ready?
Summer break is officially over as millions of children head out for their first days of school. Every child wants to look their best as they head back to school this fall. Parents schedule haircuts, get the latest outfits, and buy plenty of school supplies…but most overlook the simple steps to helping their child maintain one of their most visible features – their smile.
Studies show that one of the first things people notice about someone is their smile and that a good smile creates a positive self-image…something all parents wish for their children. Back-to-school time is the perfect time to incorporate good oral health habits into your daily routine.
According to the American Dental Association, a dental examination is as important as immunizations and medical check-ups, and should be a regular part of back-to-school preparations. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that tooth decay affects U.S. children more than any other chronic infectious disease and 19% of children ages 2 to 19 years old have untreated tooth decay. Dental pain or disease can lead to difficulty in eating, speaking, playing and learning as well as millions of hours of missed school.
As kids and teens head back to fill the halls and classrooms (and football fields and lunchrooms…) of educational institutions, here are a few dental-related ideas to help make sure they get the best out of their learning experience:
Schedule a Back-to-School Dental Visit
Regular dental examinations to diagnose and treat or prevent dental problems. Making sure to maintain a 6-month routine check ups is important for helping to keep teeth in ideal shape and nip any problems in the bud before they turn into bigger issues. Untreated decay can turn into pain that can result in poor school performance and unplanned absences. Toothaches and dental emergencies are responsible for an estimated 2.26 million missed school days each year.
Establish Daily Brushing Habits
Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing. Head for the dental care aisle when you’re out shopping for notebooks, binders and pencils. If it’s hard to remember when to change a toothbrush, you could try to change it every time report cards come out.
Make Good Nutrition a Top Priority
National studies show that only one in five school-age children eats the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, greatly increasing their risk of cavities. Take charge of your child’s health this school year by packing healthy lunches. Include portable healthy lunch items and snacks in your child’s sack lunch and avoid sticky or sugary foods and carbs that stick to the teeth. If your child eats in the school cafeteria, review healthy, balanced food choices with him before the first day of school.
Don’t forget about after-school snacks! Many children go straight to sporting practices after school and turn to sugary foods and drinks when they don’t have any other option. Bite-sized carrots, fruits, nuts and bottled water are much better after-school snack options and give children the fuel they need to excel in physical activity.
Make Facial Safety a Priority
We all talk about safety while walking to and from school, but what about playing at and after school? Wearing a properly fitted mouth guard while participating in organized sports or PE classes can help reduce the risk of facial and dental injury. Some of the most common sports injuries are dental injuries. Make sure to equip your child with a properly fitted mouth guard, since many types of fitness activities can cause falls and facial injuries.