From purchasing school supplies and setting up carpools to organizing your child’s things, back-to-school season comes with a seemingly endless list of to-dos. So, it’s not too surprising that many parents forget one of the most important ones: revisiting how to prevent dental emergencies! After all, oral hygiene regimens often get more lax during the summer with family vacations, sleepovers with friends, and the like. Don’t worry – you can learn five must-know tips right here.
Tip #1: Start Back-to-School Season with a Dental Checkup
Biannual checkups and cleanings are crucial for a number of reasons, including that they remove stubborn plaque and help prevent cavities. However, they also screen for tooth decay and other serious oral health concerns so they are detected and treated in the early stages. Scheduling this visit before the school year starts will help ensure your child isn’t distracted in the classroom or winds up missing an important lesson because of a painful toothache.
Tip #2: Buy Your Child a New Toothbrush
Using an old toothbrush to clean your teeth is a lot like using an old sponge to clean your dishes – it just doesn’t work! That’s why the American Dental Association recommends replacing your child’s toothbrush every three months. This is a great opportunity to upgrade theirs to a fun color or theme to hopefully give them some additional motivation to brush for a full two minutes each morning and evening.
Tip #3: Fill Their Lunches with Nutrient-Dense Foods
On hectic school mornings, it can be tempting to pack your child’s lunch with whatever’s most convenient. Unfortunately, sodas, candy, and similar products are loaded with sugar, increasing their chances of developing a cavity. Therefore, it’s best to stick to well-balanced meals and nutrient-dense foods, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, water, fresh fruit, and some cooked veggies.
Tip #4: If They Play Sports, Get Your Child a Mouthguard
Is your child interested in joining the baseball, football, or soccer team? Maybe they are already involved in a sport outside of school. Either way, it’s of the utmost importance that they wear a mouthguard, even if it’s a non-contact sport. Remember, all it takes is for one wrong fall or one rogue ball for their afternoon of fun to turn into a stressful trip to their emergency dentist’s office. So, encourage them to always wear their mouthguard!
Tip #5: Make Sure Your Child Doesn’t Use Their Teeth as Tools
Does your child ever chew on their pencil when they are studying? Do they use their teeth to open school supplies instead of grabbing the scissors? These are just two of many unhealthy dental habits that can result in a dental emergency, like a chipped, cracked, or fractured tooth.
With a jam-packed list of to-dos this back-to-school season, you may be tempted to wait to implement the above best practices. However, it will be well worth your time, especially since it can help potentially save your child from experiencing a dental injury!
About the Author
With a son and daughter of his own, Dr. Drew Vanderbrook knows how important it is to help growing smiles thrive. Before opening Vanderbrook Family Dentistry, he graduated with honors from Texas A&M University and completed his dental doctorate at Baylor College of Dentistry. Named New Dentist of the Year by the Dallas County Dental Society, he’s proud to use his education, training, and talent to help patients of all ages achieve their healthiest, happiest smiles. If you have a question about children’s dentistry or you’d like to schedule an appointment, then don’t hesitate to visit his website or call (214) 821-5200.