With the summer slowing down, many of us are getting ready for a new school to begin. While there’s still some measure of uncertainty about what the months ahead will look like, a healthy smile will always be a back-to-school essential!
Being proactive about your child’s oral health can help them avoid any interruptions in their education due to dental issues or orthodontic emergencies. This is also a great time to get kids back on track if they slacked off on their oral hygiene routine over the summer.
Here at Serrano Orthodontics, we know how busy this time of year can be. When you’re juggling work, school, and any extracurriculars, it can be easy to lose track of how often (or well) your child is brushing. This can become a big problem if they’re in braces or clear aligners, since healthy teeth are an important part of the treatment process. We want to ensure all our patients have a smile they can be proud of this school year, so keep reading below for some of our best tips on back-to-school oral care!
Schedule routine dental checkups
Scheduling a dental appointment for your child right before the school year begins will make it easy to keep track of when they need a checkup. They won’t have to miss a day of school to get it done, either!
Your child’s dentist will perform a thorough examination of their mouth, looking at the “big picture” of their oral health. They’ll be checking for any signs of tooth decay or cavities that should be treated before school starts and ensure their teeth and gums are in good shape.
X-rays may be part of your child’s checkup, too. These help your dentist see how the teeth are developing, if the tooth roots are healthy, and whether there’s any tooth decay present between the teeth. This allows for more timely treatment.
Your child will also receive a professional cleaning, which does an excellent job of removing cavity-causing bacteria. It will help remove staining, too, so you can send them back to school with a bright and shiny smile!
Stock up on oral care essentials
Did you know that toothbrushes should be replaced every 3-4 months? All toothbrushes have a limited lifespan and grow less effective over time. When you’re stocking up on school supplies, why not save yourself some future stress and buy extra oral care essentials at the same time?
Grab a couple of toothbrushes for each member of your family, as well as a few extra tubes of their favorite toothpaste. This way you won’t have to worry about restocking for several months! Plus, everyone will need replacements at the same time, so you’ll have one less thing to keep track of.
Help your child develop a healthy dental hygiene routine
The best way to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy smiles is to establish a good dental hygiene routine early on! Help your child develop mouth-healthy habits by having them brush their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time. They should also be flossing once per day, making sure to target the areas of the teeth that are tough to reach. Use these last weeks of summer to help your family get into a positive oral health routine that they can carry over into the school year.
Protect your child’s smile with a mouthguard
If you’ve got a child who plays sports during the school year, consider investing in a mouthguard to keep their smile protected! Facial injuries are one of the most common injuries in sports, but in many cases, they are much less severe if the child is wearing a mouthguard.
If your child already has a mouthguard, bring it along to their dental checkup or next orthodontic visit. This way the overall fit can be checked for accuracy, and any excessive wear and tear can be detected. If they’ve had a growth spurt, lost teeth, or gained new ones, they might need to be fitted for a new one.
Plan a menu with healthy snacks and lunches
School nights can be busy and chaotic, so it’s understandable if the last thing you feel like handling is lunch duty. But the extra effort of providing your child with healthy snacks and lunches is worth it when you realize how beneficial they are for their bodies and teeth!
Snacks like string cheese, fruits, veggies, and yogurt are much better for your child’s overall health than fruit snacks or sticky snack bars that stick to their teeth. Avoid soda and juice as well, opting for water instead. This is not only better for their oral health, but it will also help wash food particles away from their teeth.
Take advantage of early childhood evaluations
If your child isn’t already an orthodontic patient, this is the perfect time to schedule an evaluation with one of our doctors! The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children see an orthodontist by around the age of seven. This gives us the chance to examine a child’s developing mouth, identify any bite or alignment issues in the early stages, and intervene as needed. This gives children the best chance at a lifetime of healthy, happy smiles!
Start the school year off right with a smile from Serrano Orthodontics
When you use these tips to get into the swing of things, your child will sport a straight-A smile all year long! Our expert team is here to help make the transition from summer vacation into the school year as smooth and stress-free as possible for your family. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s oral health, get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation or follow-up visit with our Phoenix or Chandler office!