child with apple going back to school

Summer break coming to an end and the beginning of a new school year is the ideal time for parents to ensure their child is in great overall health. Doctors appointments for booster shots and back-to-school shopping trips aren’t the only areas to focus on. The beginning of a new school year is also a great time for parents to reinforce some vital preventative strategies for good oral health. While regular dental visits are essential year-round, a back-to-school checkup is the best way to ensure your child is beginning the school year as healthy as possible by being cavity free.

Being proactive will help your child avoid pain, trouble eating, difficulty speaking, and school absences.

Better Quality Brushing

The best way to start and finish a day is by having your children brush their teeth in the morning and at bedtime with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. When it comes to better brushing, always check your technique rather than just brushing harder.

The best kind of checkup is a cavity-free checkup and following these age-appropriate tips will help.

Ages 6 and under

Children under the age of 6 do not yet have the fine motor skills needed to brush their teeth on their own thoroughly. Be sure to assist your child when needed to ensure they are getting a thorough clean and not missing any teeth in the process.

Ages 7-12

The age of your child wanting to brush their teeth all by themselves has disappeared, and by now, your child knows how to brush their teeth, but they probably don’t want to. Encourage healthy brushing and flossing habits now will lead to better teeth and gums for life.

Ages 12-18

Don’t let your teen’s brushing habits become out of sight, out of mind. Teenage years into early adulthood tends to have a spike in cavities due to poor eating habits and not properly taking care of their teeth.

Packing Tooth-Friendly Foods

Your child’s dental hygiene basics are being instilled daily, but the secret to maintaining a healthy smile might be in your child’s lunchbox. Food has a significant impact on our teeth for better or for worse. Avoid packing sugary foods that can eat away at the teeth, and encourage a travel toothbrush for brushing after mealtimes.

The Best Teeth-Friendly Foods and Snacks

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Broccoli
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts and Seeds

Foods to Avoid

  • Citrus fruits
  • Sugary drinks
  • Soda
  • Chewy candy
  • Caramels
  • Chips
  • Bread
  • Pasta

Why Beverage Choice Matters

Drinking water with fluoride is important for the health of your child’s teeth as early as birth. Almost all drinking water contains fluoride, but some bottled varieties do not. Water is always the best option, especially for drinking throughout the day.

Beverages to Skip

  • Sugary drinks
  • Soda
  • Other carbonated beverages
  • Juice
  • Sports drinks

Leading By Example

Good dental health begins at home. Parents can demonstrate the value of good dental health by practicing the same healthy habits they preach to their children. Older siblings also make great role models for younger children who are still developing their brushing habits. Make teeth brushing fun by brushing as a family.

Scheduling Regular Checkups

Regular dental visits will help to create familiarity and comfort for your children. Early diagnosis through regular dental exams can minimize disease progression and also reduces the impact a dental issue will have on your child. Planning ahead by scheduling your child’s dental cleanings and exams every year before school starts, and again during spring break will help to keep your children cavity-free all year round.

It’s not too late for a back-to-school dental exam. Contact Hoffman Dental Care today to schedule an appointment with our friendly staff.