More than 51 million school hours are missed every year due to dental health related problems. Oral health issues can cause lowered self-esteem, problems with speech and articulation, issues with eating and loss of focus in school-age children. Start this school year off by reinforcing healthy habits that keep kids healthy through the whole year. Try these tips:
Pick healthy school snacks
Kids of all ages need a supply of snacks that are rich in healthy vitamins and minerals, to help build healthy smiles. Prepack snacks that are great for teeth like cheese, carrots, celery, apples and kiwis for kids to grab on the go.
Stop snacking right before bedtime
Snacking right before bedtime can build up of sugars and bacteria that rest on the teeth until morning time brushing. If you must eat before bedtime, pick a snack that is healthy for teeth, then brush, floss and rinse thoroughly before bed.
Establish a twice-daily dental care routine
Kids should be in the habit of brushing and flossing twice daily. Younger children need assistance brushing and flossing, until their dexterity is fully developed. A good rule of thumb is that kids need assistance until they can clearly write their name.
Make brushing and flossing fun
Select a children’s paste, floss and rinse in your child’s preferred flavor. Fun toothbrushes can make brushing more fun; try a brush with his or her favorite character, or one with a built in timer to ensure kids brush for the proper time. Kids should brush for two minutes, and floss between every tooth.
Include a dental appointment part of your back-to-school ritual
In preparation for a healthy year, make an appointment to see your dentist. You dentist can check for cavities, make sure that teeth are developing properly, as well as reinforce proper at-home care.