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Back-to-School Tips for Dental Health

482143605-lgIn the hustle and bustle of activities that you and your kids will be doing to prepare for heading back to school, it's easy for kid and teen dental health to be temporarily overlooked. The American Dental Association states, however, that a dental examination is an important part of your child's back-to-school planning as well as immunizations and booster shots. Tooth decay and the pain that goes along with it can lead to difficulty speaking, learning, eating, and playing, which can cause your child to miss school.  The back-to-school dental tips outlined below can help prevent those problems.

Promote Good Dental Habits at Home

Make sure your kids are brushing twice a day for two minutes, and flossing once per day to help ensure the best possible check-up.

  • Age 6 and Under - Encourage them to do as much on their own as they can, and assist them as needed.  With so many changes going on in their mouths, like having their molars come in, they may not be getting all of their teeth clean.
  • Ages 7 to 12 - By this age, they have the fine motor skills to brush and floss independently, but you still need to stand by.  They may be in a hurry, or they simply may not want to brush and floss their teeth at all.
  • Ages 12 to 18 - Teen years and into early adulthood are the most critical time for dental health.  Some of this age group has not yet had a cavity and have become complacent.  It is important to periodically discuss their dental health with them.

Don't Forget Lunch

If your child takes a bagged lunch to school, be sure to include healthy foods such as fruit, raw vegetables, yogurt, cheese, and grains.  If they purchase their lunch, be sure to go over healthy food options with them.

Plan Ahead, and Schedule a Checkup

It can get pretty busy at your dentist's office at this time of year, so give yourself enough time to ensure your child gets a checkup before school begins. Pick a date in the Spring that you will remember each year to call and schedule your child's appointment for September. When you are busy with end-of-summer activities, your kid's and teen's dental health can suffer, and it's one less thing you will have to worry about.