Back To School Dental Tips
Helping you to keep your children’s teeth strong and healthy
As the end of the school summer holiday approaches, there will be some who will be breathing a sigh of relief to get their house back to normal so that they can go about their daily life without the constant background of TV noise and “mum, I’m hungry” please! Of course, we all love our kids and we know that, despite their complaints, most of them will be ready to go back to school and see their friends again.
As they return to school, we do lose some control over their lives. This is important for the child though as they develop and learn to take responsibilities in their lives. It can mean however, that their oral health can go downhill as we will have less control over what they eat and drink whilst at school and on the way there and back.
So what can our Mike Allen’s Dental Practice patients who are parents do to help their children maintain healthy teeth and gums for the next few years whilst they are at school?
Kids are often more open to information than we sometimes think. A simple instruction to clean their teeth may well meet with the infamous ‘why?’ response. Simply answering ‘because I said so’ might work but it is likely to be of more long term benefit if we explain to them what will happen to their teeth if they don’t brush them regularly. There are a number of web videos available which are especially useful for younger kids and will help them to understand why they should clean their teeth well and hopefully set them into a good routine.
Food and drink
As we lose a degree of control over what our children eat and drink when they are back at school, there is a reasonable chance that they will start to consume more sugar than they have been doing during the holidays. Even though some schools are better than others at providing healthy meals that contain less sugar, kids are often quite determined to find ways to eat more of the tooth damaging substance. If your child takes a packed lunch, you do have a bit more control and there is a wide choice of tooth friendly foods and snacks that you can include in these. Also remember not to pack sugary fizzy drinks. These are highly damaging to young teeth and can cause serious enamel damage that can lead to decay and sensitive teeth.
There is probably little that we can do to stop them swapping items in their lunch box, but hopefully, with a good foundation of understanding of the importance of looking after their teeth well, this will be kept to a minimum.
It is worth reminding parents of younger children who perhaps go to preschool, that some snacks that we might give them, such as raisins, might appear to be a healthy option; but remember that even natural sugars are harmful to teeth. Snacks like raisins are also sticky and are likely to remain on their teeth all day; so moderation is essential even with foods that appear to be healthy.
Home oral care
Although we may lose some control whilst the kids are at school, there is a lot that we can do at home, starting in the morning when things can be a bit of a rush.
It is important that they do not neglect to clean their teeth before they go to school and ideally after they have eaten their breakfast. You should also try to provide a breakfast that is low in sugars. Unfortunately, too many breakfast cereals are high in sugars and are potentially harmful for young teeth. There is still a wide range of foods that can be eaten though, including ‘no sugar’ cereals, smoothies, omelettes and even cheese; not widely eaten at breakfast in the UK but more common in Europe.
Evening meals are usually a more relaxed affair and a bit of trial and error will help you to discover what tooth friendly meals they are happy to eat. Do bear in mind the fat content too. Obesity is a serious problem in the UK and can lead to diabetes which also has a negative effect on our oral as well as general health.
Although it might be harder as they get older and more independent, do encourage children of all ages to keep regular appointments with our Burton dentists. Ongoing professional supervision will hopefully enable them to keep their teeth healthy and even if they do consume too much sugar, any cases of tooth decay can be detected and treated relatively early. This might mean a filling but this will at least preserve the tooth and help to save it from further damage which is almost inevitable if they don’t receive regular dental care.
If you would like to book an appointment for your child to have a check up at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, please call us on 01283 845345. Our friendly team is on hand to help!Google+