The start date for primary and secondary schools varies greatly across the country, but most are starting back in August. Back-to-school season brings a lot of excitement – kids anticipate seeing their friends again, and parents are busy making sure that their children are ready for school. All of the excitement and distractions can make kids neglect some of the basics, like dental care.
The US Department of Health estimates that 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental related issues. It’s our job as parents to get our children to the dentist every 6 months for preventative professional cleanings with a dental hygienist and an examination with the dentist to keep our little ones healthy and happy!
Whereas adults have their own daily dental routine, kids are still getting acclimated to taking care of their teeth every single day. Let’s talk about some key dental tips for starting the new back-to-school routine, and where you can go in Zelienople for outstanding family dental care.
Teach Your Kids These Basic Dental Tips
Your kids might still need to perfect their techniques and habits for taking care of their teeth. As their parent, you can teach them proper oral care which will serve them for their entire lives – focusing on the following:
The number-one daily dental habit for everyone should be brushing your teeth. We have found that the best toothbrush to use for children and adults is an electric toothbrush. We prefer the Oral-B because it has a rotating brush head and does most of the work for them. There are so many fun colors and cool characters to choose from. Let them pick it out to help motivate them and make it fun!
Lead by example and brush your teeth around the same time as your child does so it naturally becomes a part of their routine. Brush at least twice a day, in the morning and most importantly, before bed for 2 whole minutes. Many electric toothbrushes, particularly the ones we recommend, have a timer right on the toothbrush, so keeping track of the time spent brushing is easy. If you don’t have an electric toothbrush with a timer, make it more fun by playing your child’s favorite 2-minute song while brushing. Sticker charts for brushing and flossing are always exciting for kids, too!
Before age 3, use a grain size of non-fluoridated toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth for them. Dr. Marion suggests non-fluoridated toothpaste as young children often swallow the toothpaste. Children do not have the dexterity to get those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.
After children turn 3 years old, use no more than a small pea size of fluoride toothpaste to help fight cavities and strengthen teeth. It is best to let your children brush their teeth themselves, then have an adult brush over them to make sure spots weren’t missed until they are about 7 years old. If you cannot get your hands on an electric toothbrush, teach your kids to brush in a small circular motion on each tooth, being sure to brush the gum line, as well.
Your children should also be encouraged to floss their teeth, especially every night. Show them that if something gets stuck in their teeth, they shouldn’t just wait for the discomfort to go away – it is best to floss the stuck food particle out from between the teeth.
You can make this fun by buying several different flavors and types of floss for them to try. Everyone is different, and they will prefer one over the others. Floss holders or flossing picks can be nice for those hard to reach places. Let each child keep their own floss (put their name on it), and make sure you always have extra floss available for when it runs out.
Eating a Dental-Friendly Diet
Many children consume candy, starchy snacks, and sweet drinks throughout the day, but these foods will break down into sugars that sit on their teeth and create cavities. Encourage them to limit their consumption of sugary and starchy foods and beverages, and give them healthier alternatives.
Let them tell you which non-sugary foods they like, such as fruits and nuts. Fruits such as apples are like natural toothbrushes, helping to naturally remove plaque and suppress oral bacteria due to their low sugar content. To learn more about how to prevent and combat cavities, click here.
Going to the Dentist Twice a Year
In the summer before school starts, have your child see Dr. Marion for a checkup and a professional dental cleaning by one of our licensed dental hygienists. Put this at the top of your back-to-school preparations list. At Marion Smile Center, our schedule is already booking into August. Please call as soon as possible to schedule your children’s dental appointments.
Even if your child’s teeth seem to be in perfect condition, they still need a professional cleaning twice a year to help cavities from developing. Regular professional cleanings remove accumulated dental plaque and tartar that brushing and flossing cannot fully remove. Be sure to talk to one of our hygienists about the benefits of dental sealants and fluoride treatments.
Dr. Marion will then do a thorough exam of your child’s teeth to check for any signs of cavities, developmental issues of the mouth and jaw, and answer any questions you may have about your child’s dental health.
Pediatric Dentist in Zelienople, PA
If you’re looking for a skilled pediatric dentist in Zelienople, Dr. Mark Marion is here for your child and your whole family. Our dental team at Marion Smile Center offers the full breadth of modern dental treatments and technologies to keep both your and your child’s teeth healthy and beautiful.
All kids leave our dental office with a little prize and a big smile. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our caring staff today by calling us at (724) 452-4300 or by filling out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to seeing all of you here!