Congratulations! You have officially made it through the summer and now it is back to school time! Back to school season is exciting for both parents and their children; the kids get to see their friends at school, they get to go back to school shopping, your precious children are starting yet another year in school and you get a break from having the kids all day. With all of this excitement, the last thing you are thinking of is your child’s dental health – but it is important not to forget about it!
Sending the kids back to school means that you won’t have direct control over what they are always eating, drinking or doing with their teeth. This means it is important for you to take the necessary precautions to ensure their dental health thrives throughout the school year.
Dr. Warr’s Tips for Packing Healthy Snacks & Lunches
As we all know, one of the most important factors for dental health stems from the diet. Of course, children love their sugary snacks and sodas, but their teeth do not. It is okay to have sugary treats in moderation, like birthday cupcakes for the class at school – however, you don’t want to pack cakes and sugary treats every day for lunch. Tip: if your child is used to sugary treats at lunchtime, try to slowly make the change by only packing treats on Mondays or Fridays and finding their favorite healthy snack to add into their lunch. This will make the sugary snacks live up to the name of a special treat.
When packing lunch and snacks, try to avoid foods that are acidic and contain a surplus of sugars. Some great snacks are fresh fruit, veggies with dips like hummus, and real fruit for the sweet tooth. Sodas can be tempting, but your children’s teeth will thank you later when you opt for juice or water. You can send your child with a refillable water bottle or two disposable water bottles to make sure that they are staying hydrated. If your little one plays sports, it is even more important to opt for water instead of soda. This way, they will stay hydrated during practice or games and avoid hurting their teeth.
Avoid Using Teeth As Tools
Many children and adults struggle with the habit of biting their nails. This is a tough habit to kick, but the sooner the better. Not only can nail-biting be an oral hygiene issue due to all of the germs that hands collect, but it also hurts your teeth over time. Excessive nail biting can cause teeth to shift, chip or even splinter the enamel on teeth!
Kids often use their teeth as tools instead of finding a pair of scissors. If you catch your child trying to open something with their teeth, try to explain to them to potential damage this could cause (tooth fractures, broken teeth and hygienic issues) and encourage them to stop and find the appropriate tool for the job. Plus it will make whatever they were trying to do significantly easier!.
Warr Dental on Contact Sports
It is so important for kids to run around outside and enjoy sports with their friends and classmates. As parents, your biggest fear is an injury due to a contact sport like football, lacrosse, basketball, etc. This can be scary for parents, but you can prevent long term damage by preparing your child for the worst-case scenario like losing a tooth. If a tooth becomes knocked out this is what you should do:
- Try to find the knocked-out tooth because we may be able to save it! It is important to remember to pick it up by the top part you see in your mouth, not the roots of the tooth, which can cause additional damage to the tooth itself.
- If it’s clean, put it back into place and hold it there with your mouth. If you can’t hold it with your mouth, you can use aluminum foil to hold it in place by putting it over the top of the teeth.
- If the tooth is not clean, you can place it in milk to clean it off and then put it back in place. Do not use water to clean the tooth!
- If you are unable to put it back, keep it in milk or plastic wrap until you can go to the dentist.
- Most importantly, get to a dentist as soon as possible!
Thankfully, Warr Pediatric Dental Associates is an emergency office, meaning you will be guaranteed to get in within 24 hours. This will prevent you from the stress of looking for a children’s dentist in Greensboro or another nearby city.
Practice Oral Hygiene With Your Children
Practicing your oral hygiene routine with your kids can do wonders for their routine. Kids love to imitate their elders and loved ones, so if they see you brushing and flossing every day they will be encouraged to do so as well. In addition, you can make it a fun experience by turning it into a time to listen to fun music. This is can be helpful in the long run because most healthy habits are learned at home in the earlier years of life.