With the end of summer nearing, it's time for back-to-school preparation. Along with shopping for school supplies and finishing up summer reading, it's important to ensure kids kick off the school year with a visit to the dentist. This sets the foundation for having a cavity-free year ahead. What else can you do to prevent cavities during the school year? Here are some tips to instill positive oral health habits in school-aged children.
Start the Day with Two Minutes of Brushing
Getting kids into the regular habit of brushing teeth as part of their morning routine can go a long way towards preventing cavities. Your child's dentist or hygienist will happily take the time to show how to effectively brush and floss to protect tooth enamel, gums and teeth.
Keep Lunches Low in Sugar
It's unlikely that your child will brush their teeth during the school day. So, you will want to make sure that sugary snacks and drinks for lunches and snacks are kept to a minimum. This includes juice boxes, dried fruit and sports drinks. Instead, choose tooth-friendly foods and beverages like raw vegetables, whole grains and milk.
Keep After School Snacks Healthy
After a challenging day at school, kids naturally want to reach for something sweet when they get home. Instead of offering a cookie or can of soda, provide healthier alternatives like fresh fruit or nuts. Be especially aware of sticky foods, such as fruit roll-ups and chewy candy that can't easily be washed away with a drink or saliva.
Stress Before Bed Brushing and Flossing
Particularly at the beginning of the school year, kids can be exhausted by the end of the day. Yet, it's important to ensure they still brush for two minutes and floss before bedtime. This sets the foundation for good oral care that can last a lifetime.
When you consider that 18.6 percent of children ages 5 through 19 have untreated cavities (dental caries), it only makes sense to incorporate a few smart strategies at the beginning of the school year to protect their teeth from decay.
Written by Dr. Jack Gruber, DDS for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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