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From the Desk of Dr. Pink

Back to School Dental Health Tips

Kids heading back to school? Make sure their teeth are ready.

Did you know that dental disease causes children to miss more than 51 million school hours each year1? Whether your child is picking out their first backpack or adding the final touches to their new dorm room this back to school season, make sure you have a plan in place to keep their smile healthy all school year long!

Schedule a dental check up

Regular dental visits are essential for strong oral health. It is recommended that children see a dentist every 6 months. Back to school time can be a busy one for dentists, so make sure you're scheduling your child's next appointment as soon as possible to avoid delays.

Pack healthy meals and snacks

The American diet tends to be high in sugar and starches, plus we like larger portions. This isn't the best diet for oral health. Try to avoid overly sugary or starchy foods; both provide a medium for bacteria and tooth decay. Instead, add foods such as leafy greens or dairy products, which can help clean your mouth and keep enamel healthy. For younger children, try letting them be a part of the packing process so they can see the value of healthy decisions.

Brushing and flossing regularly

Children should be brushing twice a day and flossing at least once per day. For children under 18, it's recommended they use a toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride can help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay.

Replacing toothbrush and toothbrush heads

A toothbrush loses effectiveness over time. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends replacing your toothbrush (or toothbrush head) every three to fourth months. Consider picking up a new toothbrush or brush head while you're already out back to school shopping.

Trauma prevention

With the start of each school year, children become more active. Depending on the activity, there could be an increased risk for dental injuries. Many sports require mouthguards to help prevent mouth related injuries. However, you may want to keep them in mind for sports that don't require such equipment, but still may contain increased risk – such as skateboarding. Remember, as kids grow so do their teeth. Mouthguards may need to be replaced or refitted due to growth, or from common wear and tear.

  1. 8 Secrets to a Successful Back-to-School Dental Checkup  The American Dental Association (accessed 7/28/21)
  • Author: Michael J. Pink DDS
  • Last updated: 8/31/2021
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