Hooray, it’s time to head back to school! I am always excited for this time of year as it’s a great time to get your family back into a routine. Although this time can be hectic, going back to school is a good opportunity to re-evaluate your family’s habits and incorporate a good oral health routine. To help you prioritize your family’s oral health, we have outlined a back-to-school checklist!
First, we recommend getting into a good oral hygiene routine. As we are re-establishing our family’s morning and evening routines, it is important to keep oral hygiene a priority. We always recommend finding a time that works best for your family to make oral hygiene a consistent habit. If brushing before breakfast means that it will be a consistent habit then brush before eating. Always remember to brush for 2 minutes twice per day and to floss. Make sure to check everyone’s technique!
Second, start a new school year with a new toothbrush! How old is that toothbrush? It can be difficult to remember when everyone changed their toothbrush last. We recommend using the school calendar as a prompt to remember to change out your toothbrush. You can also use winter and spring break as prompts to switch out that toothbrush. We recommend switching it approximately every 3-4 months or when the bristles start to splay.
Third, what new sports or activities will your kids be participating in the fall? Any contact sports on the schedule? If so, make an appointment to be evaluated for a mouthguard. We take a quick impression and make a model of your kid’s teeth. We then fabricate a mouthguard in your kid’s team colors that are low profile and a snug fit. Comfort is key with mouth guards; they don’t work if they aren’t used!
Fourth, start making a game plan for healthy lunches and snacks. Send your kids to school with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy proteins like string cheese and yogurt. Variety is key! Consider packing water or non-sugary beverages, and stay away from simple carbohydrates and sticky sugary snacks such as goldfish crackers, dried fruit, soft bars, and juice.
Last but not least don’t forget to schedule a dental checkup. As you call your pediatrician or family physician for well-child checks, make sure you check in with the dentist. For ease of scheduling, we recommend grouping your family’s healthcare checkups together. If possible, try to schedule these checkups a month or so before school starts so any issues can be addressed quickly to avoid missing school days.
We hope your family has a wonderful school year ahead! We can’t wait to support you in all your oral healthcare needs.