Just Kids Dental Clinic Lead Dentists: Stephanie Freudenthal, Anne Rob and Allison Melancon have a few tips to help students return to school with a healthy smile.
All recommend scheduling a “back to school” dental check up.
“Twice a year dental visits are important,” says Freudenthal. “Your child’s dentist will diagnose any dental problems that may be present that could potentially affect your child’s ability to perform their best at school. The dentist will also discuss preventive measures, such as dental sealants, to protect permanent molars from decay.
“Get kids back to their routines of brushing twice a day – It’s easy to get off schedule during the summer, but getting back to a daily routine will help kids to remember good oral hygiene practices. It’s always a good idea for them to carry a travel toothbrush to school for brushing after lunch. Also, don’t forget to floss and use a fluoride rinse at night.”
Rob agrees and adds, “I encourage parents to get a pencil bag with a toothbrush and toothpaste placed inside, so students can brush after lunch.”
Healthy eating throughout the day was stressed by all dentists.
“Parents should pack healthy lunches and plan for healthy after school snacks. Encouraging healthy eating habits can also help kids to make better choices while at school. Remember, it is the frequency of exposure to sugars, not the amount, that affects susceptibility to dental caries,” advises Melancon.
Some good tips to follow are:
-Pack bottled water in lunches along with balanced meals. Ex.) Sandwich, string cheese and fruit. Snacks should also be healthy: Fruit, veggies, cheese, and nuts satisfy and help teeth stay strong.
– If students take school lunch, they should choose either white milk or water to drink (most will choose strawberry or chocolate milk).
– For after school sports, limit the amount of Gatorade children drink because it is loaded with sugar. During sports remember to have them use their mouth guard! Parents should encourage safety and the use of mouth guards to protect the teeth from injury during sports. Ask your dentist about getting a custom fit mouth gaurd for your child.
– After school, avoid snacks that are made of sugars or carbohydrates, stick with snacks like nuts, raw vegetables, fruits and cheese.
“Parents must remember that improving their child’s oral health can also improve their self esteem and overall performance! Parents can provide a good example by making appointments for themselves too,” says Melancon.