Back-to-School Oral Health Care Tips

It’s nearly time for kids to go back to school.

Parents and children often go through many emotions during this time of the year. Anxiety and excitement run high that most parents and children forget to plan for things like healthy snacks and dental checkups.

Cavities are a common childhood chronic disease. One in five children aged between five and eleven have had at least one decayed tooth. Studies have also found that cavities can affect a child’s performance at school.

Oral hygiene for kids is essential. Keeping your child’s teeth healthy and their studies on track are now more important than ever. Here are some oral health care tips to help your child keep their healthy smiles and grades up.

Does Oral Health Affect a Child’s School Performance? 

Problems in oral health can distract students from school and make them late in their coursework. Dentists have studied the effects of oral care on academic performance, and they found that the level of dental care a child receives affects their attendance, experiences, and grades.

According to one study, elementary school children are absent on average six days per year. Of those six days, 2.1 days were due to dental issues. School children who were absent due to dental issues were more likely to have a lower grade average. Parents are also likely to miss 2.5 days a year just to take care of their children who have dental issues.

Too many absences due to dental pain can lead to children missing out on a crucial time in their lives when reading and writing skills are a priority.

Why Go for a Back-To-School Dental Checkup 

Parents often find it difficult to decide how much dental care their child requires. It becomes more difficult when their child is afraid or shy to talk about their dental problems because they might get in trouble or be punished. Some children may find it difficult to explain why they feel unwell and how to express it, and parents might fail to notice their child’s pain.

While regular dental visits are important all year, a back-to-school checkup is crucial in fighting cavities, the most prevalent chronic disease in school-aged children. Cavities and other dental problems can cause children to miss 51 million school hours annually and are difficult for parents to spot.

A healthy smile can improve children’s concentration, performance, and school attendance. The American Dental Association recommends that parents make regular dental visits a part of their back-to-school routine.

It doesn’t matter if your child goes back to school differently this year due to the pandemic, but it’s still important to schedule their back-to-school appointment. Early detection and prevention prevent pain, difficulty in eating and speaking, and school absences.

Back-to-School Dental Care Tips 

Aside from using tooth activities for kids to teach about teeth and dental care, here are some dental care tips for kids and their parents to help them get ready for the coming school year.

Establish dental routines before and after school. 

Establishing a routine for your children’s dental care is essential, especially during the school year. Oral hygiene for kids should be part of their morning and after-school routines. Make brushing an essential part of their morning routine; mornings are hectic, and your child may forget about brushing their teeth. Have them brush their teeth after breakfast. You can also use a reminder system using sticky notes pasted on their bedroom door or the door they exit the house from so that it’s the last thing they see before leaving for school. This way, they won’t forget about their teeth.

An after-school routine is just as important in helping them maintain good oral health. Have your child brush and floss their teeth when they get home, whether they eat an after-school treat or not.

These routines may seem overwhelming at first, so give your child time to adjust. Going to school requires your child to make lots of adjustments for homework, wake-up times, and more.

Drink plenty of water  and milk.

Here’s another dental health tip to remember: drink plenty of water throughout the school day. Water will keep your child hydrated and prevent bacteria or plaque from accumulating on their teeth. It also helps remove sugar and other substances from their teeth and keeps their gums healthy.

Milk is another drink your kid should have but stick to white milk instead of flavored ones like chocolate and strawberry.

Go to bed early.

A good night’s sleep is important for your overall and dental health. Sleep deprivation can cause daytime fatigue, decreased concentration, and excessive snacking.

Bring sugar-free gum.

Having their child bring sugar-free gum is one of many oral health care tips parents should try; however, it’s best to check their school’s policy over gum before doing so. Fresh breath is not the only benefit your child can enjoy from chewing gum. It also helps them produce more saliva that neutralizes the acids in their mouth and strengthens their teeth enamel. It can also dislodge food stuck between their teeth and gums.

Care for your braces while at school.

Many children return to school with new gear. But what if your child has braces that require more care and maintenance?

Here are some oral health care tips parents can try:

  • Make a braces care kit that includes a toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste your child can bring to school.

  • Teach your child healthy eating habits and remind them about the foods they can and can’t eat.

  • Plan for any brace emergency so your child knows where to call and who they should call.

Eat healthy snacks.

It is not common to bring a toothbrush or toothpaste to school. If you think about it, a child can go the whole school day without brushing, flossing, or any type of oral care.

The best dental health tip in this situation is to have your child eat healthy snacks. The food they consume will impact how their teeth look.

Encourage them to eat and choose nutritious snacks that can clean their teeth, like carrot sticks, celery, or apples. These can also reduce any bad breath they may have.

Strawberries are also excellent snack choices for your child. They are rich in malic acid that can help remove teeth stains.

Plan your child’s school snacks for the week with them so that you both pick healthy foods that they love.

Take your child for their back-to-school dental checkup to Sunrise Dentistry.

Here’s one last oral health care tip: bring your child to their back-to-school dental checkup before August to avoid the rush. Our dentists near Pagosa Springs are always ready to give your child the dental care they need all year round. Call us at (970) 247-3303 for more information about our services and any concerns about oral health.