The school year is underway once again. Chances are you bought new clothes, school supplies, maybe even had a physical with your doctor before school started. At Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry, we want to ensure you have all the tools you need to make this the year you smile bigger than ever.
“Tooth decay is an ever growing problem for children,” says pediatric dentist Dr. Nanna Ariaban.
“It is in fact the number one chronic infectious disease affecting children today. Incorporating these back to school tips can ensure your child has a beautiful and healthy smile.”
- Schedule a check-up. Your child should start seeing a dentist by his or her first birthday, and then every six months after. If it has been a while since your child’s last check-up, schedule one today to ensure your child’s mouth is healthy.
- Be sure your child brushes and flosses regularly, and properly. Once your child can spit the toothpaste out, be sure he or she is using fluoride toothpaste and brushing at least twice a day with a soft bristle toothbrush. Toothbrushes should be replaced every three months. Your child should also floss at least once a day to ensure the areas where the toothbrush can’t reach are free of food particles and debris.
- Pack healthy snacks and lunches for your child. Avoid foods such as chips and crackers that contain simple starches. These can cling to the teeth, and if your child can’t brush after eating, they can wreak havoc on your child’s smile over time. Skip the sugar, and replace soda or juice with water or milk. Include foods that require your child to chew for a while, such as celery. Chewing creates more saliva flow, which helps to wash away food particles. Include plenty of dairy products, such as cheese. These contain calcium that can keep the teeth strong. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals will ensure a healthy smile.
- If your child plays sports, be sure he or she wears a properly fitted mouthguard. Mouthguards are typically worn only in high contact sports, such as football, lacrosse and hockey, but it can also be helpful to wear a mouthguard in any sport that could pose a risk to your child’s smile. Baseball, basketball, even skateboarding, can result in broken or chipped teeth if they aren’t properly protected.
- If your child wears braces, be sure he or she packs a toothbrush with them each day to brush after eating. If brushing isn’t possible, encourage them to drink a glass of water after finishing lunch to help wash away any food particles left behind. If your child has a removable retainer, be sure he or she rinses it well after each meal and rinses their mouth or brushes before putting the retainer back in.
“My goal is to ensure children have healthy smiles that can last a lifetime,” says Dr. Nanna. “Once school starts, schedules can start to fill up, making lives incredibly busy. But, it is important for us to always keep our oral health as a priority.”