It’s that time of year again. Back to school season is right around the corner and you can already smell the notebook paper. After splashing around and having fun in the sun during summer break, your child may not be ready to head back into the halls of learning, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be prepared. When going through the back to school checklist, be sure to add one more to-do: oral hygiene and health for your child.
Oral health in children is extra important due to the fact that your child is still in a developmental stage. The sooner you can get their oral health up to par, the better (and healthier) their teeth will be once they’re grown. And with better oral hygiene habits implemented at a young age, your child is sure to grow up with those habits still intact. So, here are a few facts and tips on everything you need to know about your child’s oral health.
First thing is first, brushing habits! The average age that a child is ready to brush their teeth on their own is 8 years old. An easy rule to follow is: “your child is ready to brush alone when he or she can tie their shoes on their own.” Before your child is ready to take the plunge into responsibility, make sure they are brushing their teeth properly, using the right amount of fluoride toothpaste (not too much), and are not swallowing their toothpaste. To make this process easier, try brushing your teeth with your child, let them see that you also have healthy oral hygiene and that it’s important to you. Kids love to learn, so teaching them how to be healthy like you will give them the confidence and motivation to learn to do it right.
Do you know one of the biggest causes of cavities? I’ll give you a clue: it’s not sugar! Germs are actually known to cause cavities in younger kids and are spread through saliva. So, it is very important not to share cups, eating utensils, or food with your child because your germs will transfer to their teeth and that can lead to cavities and tooth decay! However, sugar is not blameless in causing cavities. Sugary foods and drinks feed those germs that cause tooth decay, so make sure to limit your child’s intake of sugary drinks and foods.
So, how can you prevent these cavities and germs from sticking around? One step you can take is placing sealants on molars when your child develops them at 6 to 12 years old. Sealants are just thin plastic coatings that are simply painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to prevent decay. These sealants help keep cavity-causing germs at bay. Moreover, besides regularly brushing with fluoride toothpaste, you can also give your child a well-balanced diet to help improve or maintain healthy teeth.
While back to school may be a busy time with trying to get everything in order, make sure your child’s oral health is at the top of your checklist! Set up regular dental appointments for your student, check-in on their personal oral hygiene habits, and fill their lunchboxes with healthy foods.