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4 Back-to-School Tips for Healthy Teeth

As your kids head back to school with fresh supplies and stylish outfits, you may find yourself tidying up wet swimsuits, clearing away junk food wrappers, and empty soda cans. In the midst of this, you might ponder how their summer indulgences have impacted their daily routine and dental health.

The start of the school year presents an excellent opportunity to arrange a dental check-up for your children, ensuring their teeth are in good health and free from cavities. Dental issues can cause difficulties in eating, speaking, playing, and learning, and may result in missed school days. Taking proactive measures to maintain oral health can prevent these challenges.

It may come as a surprise that cavities are the most prevalent health condition in children, surpassing asthma by fivefold and early childhood obesity by fourfold. Surprising indeed, considering that cavities are entirely preventable.

You might wonder, “They’re just baby teeth, so why worry? They’ll fall out anyway, right?” While it’s true that baby teeth are temporary, untreated cavities in them can cause pain and potentially affect the permanent teeth underneath. In some cases, cavities can worsen to the point of causing a severe dental abscess, which may even spread to the jaw and other facial areas. Don’t wait for the pain to strike! Prevention is the key to maintaining oral health and avoiding future complications.

Here are some tips to start your kids on the right path.

1. Drink plenty of water!

Cavities develop when bacteria or “sugar bugs” consume sugar from our diet and produce acids that erode the hard mineral structure of our teeth. Sugar is ubiquitous, but nowadays, half of the sugar in children’s diets comes from beverages like soda, juices, and sports drinks. By promoting water as the preferred choice for your kids, you can significantly reduce the risk of cavities. This simple change alone can have a profound impact on cavity prevention.

What about Gatorade? Many parents mistakenly believe that sports beverages are healthy due to commercials claiming they hydrate and replenish the body with electrolytes. However, in reality, these drinks are merely flooding children with sugar. While sodium is the primary electrolyte lost through sweat, most Americans already consume an excessive amount of sodium in their diets.

2. Eat healthy lunches and snacks.

Maintain a well-balanced diet by incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains rich in calcium, and lean proteins. It’s important to avoid chewy and sticky foods like dried fruit or candy, as they tend to linger on the teeth for prolonged periods. Since every child is unique, nutritional counseling is tailored to each individual and is a key focus during hygiene appointments at our pediatric dental office.

3. Brush and floss.

It may seem simple, but it’s incredibly important! Ensure your child brushes their teeth for two minutes, twice a day using fluoridated toothpaste. The optimal times are in the morning and before bed (also the best time to floss). Children don’t have the same hand dexterity and fine motor skills as adults until they’re older. Therefore, parents should brush and floss their child’s teeth at least once a day until they reach 8-9 years old. Remember, good oral hygiene is key for their dental health!

4. Regular dental check-ups.

This is the foundation of dental care for your kids! By scheduling regular visits to a certified pediatric dentist every six months, they can receive necessary treatment and preventive measures to maintain optimal oral health. In-office procedures like fluoride treatments and sealants can strengthen their teeth and ward off cavities. Ensure that regular dental check-ups become an integral part of your children’s healthcare routine.

At Sweet Tooth Kid’s Dentistry, our mission is to instill lifelong oral hygiene habits in children. With our experience in dental care for kids, we understand that every child is unique and has their own individual needs. We are dedicated to providing the highest level of care and ensuring a positive dental experience for each child.

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