In the flurry of summer activities and fun, it can be difficult to think about a new school year when you and your kids are still in vacation mode. In addition to getting new backpacks, clothes, haircuts and school supplies, parents should also schedule back-to-school dental check-ups for their children. Regular dental appointments are essential for fostering good oral hygiene habits and a lifetime of healthy teeth.

The following back-to-school dental tips can help your child start the school year with a bright smile and healthy teeth — and most importantly, keep it that way all year long.

Importance of Routine Dental Exams
Just as you take your child to the pediatrician for wellness checkups, regular dental visits are also important to keep a child’s teeth problem-free year after year. During a routine appointment, teeth and gums are cleaned and examined for potential problems. Early detection of oral health issues can be addressed before they turn into major problems during the school year.

Parents can also talk with the dentist about preventive care, including proper brushing techniques, sealants and getting fitted for a sports mouth guard. These visits allow kids to establish a positive relationship with the dentist while also giving the dentist an opportunity to discuss improvements or treatments for your child’s oral health care.

Establish Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits at Home
As the summer months wind down, you can help your kids ease back into a school-year routine by establishing good oral hygiene habits in the morning and before bed. Children should brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for a full two minutes each time, as well as floss once a day to combat decay between teeth. Younger children still require supervision and assistance from parents to clean their teeth. Setting up fun, positive oral hygiene rhythms during relaxed summer months will pay off at the start of the school year before schedules become more hectic.

Focus on Good Nutrition
Another great way to encourage good dental health during the school year is to implement a well-balanced dietary plan for your family. The right combination of nutritious foods and routine dental exams will help preserve your child’s teeth for a lifetime. While it might sound intimidating, incorporating healthy, wholesome foods into your family’s diet is relatively simple and can benefit your entire body!

Pack tooth-friendly school lunches with raw vegetables, fresh fruits, cheeses and nuts — all of which offer oral health benefits. Likewise, limit the amount of processed, sugary foods and drinks that your child consumes — as they fuel bacteria that cause decay.

Schedule Back-to-School Appointments Today
At McLean, DDS, we know that back-to-school preparation is a busy time. But taking care of your child’s teeth should be a top priority on your checklist. Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule back-to-school appointments. Beat the rush and contact our office today. We look forward to helping your kids get smile-ready to face another school year.

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