October 1st, 2023
As the new school year approaches, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of dental hygiene for students of all ages. Good oral health not only promotes a beautiful smile, but also contributes to a child’s overall well-being. In this article, we will explore essential dental hygiene tips that students can incorporate into their daily routines to maintain a healthy mouth and prevent dental problems from occurring.
Schedule Your Bi-Annual Dental Cleanings
It's important that your child has a regimented dental schedule set up before the chaos of school work takes over. We recommend most parents schedule a dental cleaning for their children during the summer months and then again 6 months later. This usually allows the child to have their second cleaning when they have some time off during the winter holiday months. These checkups not only check for cavities, but can diagnose any skeletal or jaw malformations that may occur at a young age. Leaving these undiagnosed can lead to eventual bite or TMJ issues as well as airway issues later on in life. Sealants can also be placed at these appointments which can help cover the deep grooves of the teeth where sugar and carbohydrates tend to stay, preventing cavities from forming.
It's also important to make sure your child is changing out their toothbrushes every 3 months, or whenever they are sick. Old toothbrushes can harbor bacteria and mold that can negatively affect your oral health. The bristles can also wear very easily over time which can lead to less effective removal of plaque. Also, growing children may need toothbrushes with appropriate size and bristle softness as their dental needs change, making regular replacement essential.
Send Your Child to School with Tooth Friendly Snacks
Packing a daily lunch can help your child prevent future cavities and avoid the temptation to choose unhealthy options in the cafeteria. It's important to consider foods that are low in sugar and carbohydrates to prevent the spread of decay. Both sugars and carbohydrates can attack your child's enamel causing decay as well as acid erosion. Foods such as raw vegetables, low sugar yogurts, cheese sticks, and nuts are all great options to choose from. Even dark chocolate can be a better choice than pretzels and crackers. This is because sticky carbohydrates tend to stay in the deep grooves of the teeth for a longer period of time. It's also beneficial to limit your child's snacking throughout the day. The less time sugar and carbohydrates stay on the tooth the better. It's best to have your child consume these over their three main meals daily, then more frequent times throughout the day.
Acid also plays a role in the decay process for children. Even healthy foods can contain high amounts of acid, such as lemons and salad dressings, that can be hidden causes of tooth decay. Energy drinks, sodas, and sports drinks, tend to have a very high acid content which many people may not realize. It's best to have your child drink water throughout the day. If they do consume these drink products, have them drink them within a thirty-minute time period and wash or rinse their mouths with water after to eliminate the acid from sitting on the tooth enamel. Wait to brush for at least thirty minutes following consumption of these drinks. Drinking through a straw can also help eliminate how much acid comes in contact with tooth enamel.
Consider a Mouthguard for After School Sports
Sports injuries are very common among young adults these days. As their dentition eruptions, many children have skeletal or dental malformations which can cause their teeth to stick out more prominently. Orthodontic treatment can help with this, but mouthguards can also be a great option to protect any child's dentition from trauma during sporting events. These can even be made in various colors which can make them more fun to wear for young adults.
As students embark on a new school year, prioritizing dental hygiene should be part of their daily routine. By following these dental hygiene tips, students can maintain a healthy mouth and enjoy a confident smile throughout their academic journey. Remember, a little effort in practicing good dental hygiene today can lead to a lifetime of oral health benefits. As always, Dentistry on Fruitville and Dr. Amanda Rizner are here to help you and your families in the Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Venice, Bradenton and surrounding areas get back to school ready!