The summer is winding down, and it’s almost time for your children to start a new school year. We can all agree that the back-to-school season this year is nothing like years past. With so much uncertainty about what the school year will look like, and what school will even look like. No matter what the school-year looks like, take some time to make sure your child has everything they need to keep their smile healthy and happy. We’ve put together our children’s back to school checklist to help you and your child maintain healthy smiles.

Even in the midst of uncertainty, heading back to school in the fall means stocking up on all of the supplies, your child will need to learn and grow. But while purchasing pencils and notebooks, don’t forget one of the most important items on your child’s back to school checklist: a dental checkup. Being proactive about dental health can help your child avoid any interruptions in your child’s education due to dental issues and emergencies. 

Here are some suggestions for maintaining healthy teeth during the school year.

Stock up on toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss

Did you know that you should replace your child’s toothbrush (and your own) every 3-4 months? All toothbrushes, whether they’re manual or electric, have a limited lifespan. General use wears down bristles and makes the toothbrush less effective over time. Most toothbrushes have indicators in the form of blue bristles to help you tell when they need to be replaced. When the blue starts to fade, it’s time for a new brush. 

If you want to save yourself some future stress, especially if you’re trying to limit trips to the store, consider stocking up on dental hygiene essentials like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss. Grab 2-3 toothbrushes for each member of your family, as well as a few extra tubes of their favorite fluoride toothpaste. You shouldn’t have to worry about restocking until the spring. Plus, since everyone will need replacements at the same time, you’ll have fewer things to keep track of. 

New Mouthguard

If your child will be playing sports in fall, either at school or in the yard, it’s a good idea to get them a mouthguard to protect their teeth from injuries. Facial injuries are one of the most common injuries in sports. In many cases, these injuries are much less severe if a child is wearing a mouthguard. If your child is playing a sport, you can keep their teeth safer this season with a sports mouthguard.

Reusable Water Bottle 

With every sip, water cleans teeth by ridding them of any leftover foods or acids. It also washes away bacteria and sugars that can eventually lead to cavities. Water has zero calories and helps restore the mouth’s pH balance to fight unhealthy levels of acid. Even better, water also hydrates the body as it sweats. If your child’s school allows it, a water bottle is a great way to ensure that your child stays adequately hydrated while at school. If your child is attending school virtually, a fun water bottle might encourage them to drink more water during the day than a regular drinking glass. 

Healthy Brushing Routine

The best way to set your child up for a lifetime of good oral health is to help them establish a good dental hygiene routine. You can help your child develop a mouth-healthy routine by having them brush their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time, and floss once per day, making sure to floss the tough-to-reach areas of their teeth. Use these last weeks of summer to help your child get into a positive oral health routine that they can carry over into their school year.

Plan Ahead for Healthy Lunches and Snacks

We understand that life can be busy and chaotic, even more so when everyone is home more. But the extra effort of making sure your child has lunches and snacks that are healthy for their bodies and teeth. Snacks like string cheese, vegetables, fruits, and nuts are better for your child’s overall health than things like fruit snacks or sticky snack bars that stay on and around their teeth. Also, don’t forget to include water or other low sugar beverages rather than soda or juice. 

Routine Dental Checkup 

Scheduling a dental appointment right before the school year starts will make it easier to keep track of when your child needs a checkup, and they won’t have to miss a day of school. Your child’s dentist will perform a thorough examination, checking for any signs of tooth decay, weak enamel, and cavities that should be treated before school starts.

Visit an Orthodontist 

Did you know that the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children see an orthodontist by age 7? An orthodontist can spot bite and alignment issues while they’re still developing, and intervene as needed. They’ll also be able to determine a possible start time for future treatment. For older children, before school starts is a good time to start treatment. 

Children's back to school checklist

Give Your Child a Head Start This Year 

Help your child start the school year out on the right foot by easing back into your routines a few weeks early while staying flexible as circumstances change. For instance, make the move to earlier bedtimes a few weeks before school starts. Also, practice healthy habits like washing hands frequently and eating well-balanced meals. Though this year will present new challenges, by following this back-to-school checklist for healthy teeth, your child’s dental health won’t get overlooked. 

Your Memphis children’s dental expert is dedicated to your child’s oral health. If it is time to have a checkup before school starts or anytime through the year, contact Children’s Dental Center today.