Winter break is ending, and it’s time for kids across the state to go back to school. But are your children really healthy enough to go back to class again? While they might seem okay, you may be ignoring a major aspect of their health and wellness: their teeth. Dental care is essential to your children’s health, even if they still have all their baby teeth. In fact, more than 40% of children have dental cavities by the time they reach kindergarten. Before your child goes back to school after winter break, use these tips to help them keep their teeth healthy.
Diet is one of the easiest ways to improve your dental health, and this is especially true for children. Kids with a sweet tooth tend to eat too much candy and other sugary foods, leading them to develop cavities more easily. After the holidays recently, it’s very likely that many kids in the state have eaten more candy than usual, and this can promote tooth decay. Instead, encourage your children to snack on healthier options, like fruits and vegetables. If you’ve got a picky eater at home, don’t worry; there are plenty of ways to sneak fruits and vegetables into their diet too. Try checking out microgreens; they are a tiny form of edible greens produced from very young vegetables, herbs or other plants. They’re easy to sneak into a smoothie or sandwich for even the pickiest of eaters.
Most parents remind their kids to brush their teeth, but do you know for a fact that they’re brushing their teeth often enough and for the right length of time? Not all kids remember to brush their teeth the correct way, especially when they’re younger. Encourage your kids to brush for a full two minutes to ensure they get all the benefits of regular cleaning. Don’t forget about flossing too. Also, double-check that your kids are using the right amount of toothpaste. Many kids use too much – you only need a pea-sized amount. If your child is under two years old, do not use fluoride toothpaste unless your doctor or dentist tells you to.
Visit Your Dentist
Scheduling a dentist appointment once the semester starts up again can be a challenge, but it may be necessary if your child hasn’t gone to the dentist over winter break. The AAPD recommends that kids and teens see a pediatric dentist every six months for regular checkups including an exam, cleaning, fluoride treatment, and occasional x-rays to prevent cavities and other problems. Kids should start seeing a dentist regularly around the same time that they begin growing their first baby teeth.
As your kids start growing their permanent teeth, you may also want to consider bringing them to an orthodontist. While crooked baby teeth don’t necessarily require orthodontic treatment, permanent teeth are easiest to straighten while you’re still young. The best time to begin orthodontic treatment is at age seven. Talk to your dentist during your child’s next dentist appointment to see if seeing an orthodontist could help your child.
As the second half of the school year starts, it’s important to check with your kids to ensure they’re as healthy as possible. Proper dental care is an essential part of maintaining health, especially for kids returning to school. Use these tips as your guide to helping your children with their dental health after winter break.