With school already starting back for some and just around the corner for others, it is crucial that you take your child's oral hygiene seriously. Did you know that poor oral health can lead to your child missing school and getting low grades? While the study focused on disadvantaged children, the study showed that elementary students missed 2.1 days per year, while high students missed 2.3 days annually—all due to dental-related issues. So, what can you do to ensure your child is prepared for school dental wise?
Encourage Proper Oral Hygiene
While your teenager may gripe about it, your child—regardless of his or her age—can benefit from practicing proper oral health habits. Therefore, it is important that you, as a parent, encourage your children to brush their teeth twice per day and floss once a day. With younger children, you will likely need to help them do this and make sure that they did it well enough. With older children as well as teenagers, you can set an example by practicing good oral hygiene yourself.
Schedule (and Go to) Bi-Annual Checkups
It is very important that your children visit the dentist regularly for cleanings, X-rays, exams, etc. This type of appointment should be made twice a year—every six months. By visiting the dentist at regular intervals like this, it ensures that your children's teeth remain free of plaque and tartar buildup, and it allows the dentist to detect and address any minor issues before they have a chance to become major problems that may be time-consuming and costly to treat.
Limit the Consumption of Sugar and Sweets
All kids love sugar and sweets—who doesn't? However, it is crucial that you limit the amount that your child has on a regularly basis. When sugar is left in the mouth to sit, it increases the amount of harmful bacteria and acids. Unfortunately, it can take 20 minutes or longer for saliva to fully neutralize those acids and bacteria. If your child is consuming sweets numerous times per day, the risk of cavities increases. So, try to replace sugar and sweets with healthier snacks and desserts, including nuts, cheese, and fresh fruits.
If your child is going to have sweets, try to let him or her have them have a meal first because the food offers a slight level of protection against that sugar. Drinking water with sweets can also help to minimize the damage the sugar causes on the teeth.
Brush After Eating [Sweets], but Do So with Care
It's always a good idea to have your child brush his or her teeth after eating, especially sweets, but make sure your child waits for at least 30 minutes before doing so. The reason for this is because the sugar, as well as anything acidic, naturally weakens the tooth enamel and brushing immediately could result in pieces of the enamel being brushed away.