Don’t let the return to routine get you down: it’s a good time to get back into good habits and review hygiene tips with your children to keep their teeth healthy.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, one of the statistical indicators of reference in the first world, more than 50 percent of children will suffer from cavities before the age of 5. Can you imagine how many classes are lost due to dental-related conditions? You can help your child stay healthy by following these oral hygiene tips and get the school year off to a good start.
Get back into the back-to-school routine
Establishing a daily oral hygiene routine is important, especially for younger children. Making sure children brush their teeth every morning and just before bedtime is essential.
It’s best to maintain a routine throughout the year because if your child brushes and flosses at the same time every day, they will learn that it should be part of their routine, just like getting dressed in the morning or putting on pajamas at night.
Ways to make brushing more fun for your child
It is important to make brushing time attractive and engaging. We all like to have a choice and we all like nice things; kids do too. You can take your child to the store to pick out their own toothbrush, toothpaste and other personal hygiene items. Choosing a toothbrush in their favorite color, with a special character drawing or one that lights up or plays music during brushing (the supply is impressive) will help make this daily moment special. Whatever the brush, make sure your child brushes for two minutes at a time.
Remember that kids should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste if they are 3 years old or older, or just a dab of toothpaste if they are younger than 3 years old.
You can also give them stickers or other small rewards each time they brush their teeth correctly so they receive positive reinforcement from you and it’s easy to lock in the daily hygiene habit.
Parental involvement in your child’s dental routine
Parents play an important role in helping a child establish good oral hygiene habits. Children learn more from what they see than what we say, so it is important to make brushing time a family activity in which the older members of the family show the younger members how it is done.
Our expert doctor in pediatric dentistry, Dr. Cristina Domínguez, can show you how to perform an optimal brushing so that you can teach it to your little one.
Pack lunches for school that won’t hurt teeth
When you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to fall into the practical solution of prepared or industrialized food which, although very practical for a specific moment, turns out to have too many sugars and additives if it is consumed frequently.
That is why it is interesting, instead of always opting for the processed and fast alternative, to consider preparing a lunch rich in protein, fiber and dairy, which includes fresh nutrients.
Is sugar really so bad for children’s teeth?
Sugar is very harmful to teeth, especially in children. Baby teeth have a thinner enamel layer than permanent teeth, which makes them very susceptible to decay. When bacteria in the mouth come into contact with sugars in food and drink, they create an acid that destroys the enamel. It only takes about 20 seconds for the bacteria to turn it into acid and that acid is active for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Be sure to monitor the amount of sugar your child consumes throughout the day. If your child needs a snack between meals, choose fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts or other salty foods as a snack instead of sweets.
Juice is a big culprit of tooth decay in children. Although juice has some vitamins and antioxidants, it has a very high amount of sugar. Children should only have one glass of fresh juice a day as part of a meal or snack.
Schedule your child’s dental appointments in advance.
The beginning of the school year is a good time to plan your child’s dental visit. We recommend two dental check-ups a year, and one way to avoid forgetting or procrastinating is to schedule them in advance and at the end of the summer and Christmas vacations. Planning the visits in advance allows you to choose the date and time that suits you more easily.