Here in the Mid-South, summer can sometimes feel like it lasts half the year. When it’s hot from May until October, the new school year can sneak up on you and catch you by surprise!

Yet here we are, getting back into the school routine already. We know this is a busy time, and in between work, school, sports, and extracurriculars, it can be easy to lose track of how important it is to maintain your child’s dental care routine. Here at Children’s Dental Center, we want to make sure our patients have healthy teeth from the first day of school to the last. Let’s take a look at some of our top tips for dental health as we head into another year of backpacks, books, and bright smiles!

Back-to-school checkup

Immunizations and booster shots have always been a part of getting ready to go back to school. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends making a dental checkup part of that routine, too! Tooth decay is incredibly common in young children. According to the CDC, cavities are actually the most common chronic disease for children who are 6-19 years old. It’s even more common than asthma! Children with poor dental health can end up missing school with oral issues, and you likely already know how important attendance is for successful learning.

When you schedule a back-to-school checkup with us, one of our doctors will perform a thorough examination of your child, as well as clean their teeth. If they are due for x-rays, we may include these as well. This lets us rule out any potential cavities or concerns we can’t see by observation alone. A check-up around back-to-school time will not only provide your child with the regular dental care they need, but can also help prevent unnecessary missed school days for them this year! 

Doctor talking with a patient and her son

Maintaining an A+ dental hygiene routine

Does your child brush their teeth two times a day, every day, for two minutes at a time? Are they sure to floss every night before bed? These guidelines are set by the ADA, and they are crucial elements of proper oral hygiene. As this school year begins, talk with your child about the importance of these tasks, and show them how to do it by example if necessary. While you’re out and about topping up school supplies, why not stock up on extra toothbrushes, tubes of fluoride toothpaste, and floss? We recommend changing out toothbrushes every 3-4 months, after an illness, or if the bristles begin losing their shape. This is a lot easier to do if you have replacements on hand already! It can be easy to lose track of when it’s time to switch to a new brush, so plan on doing it every time report cards come home to keep things simple.

Keep snacks and lunches healthy

As important as regular visits to the dentist and proper flossing and brushing are, healthy snacks and lunches are equally beneficial! These provide your child with the vitamins and nutrients needed to develop healthy teeth that are less prone to cavities. This is easy enough to manage during the summer and other school breaks, since you’re in charge of the menu. But when kids go back to school, it can be more difficult to monitor what your child is eating, particularly if they buy school lunches or have access to snack carts.

If your child prefers to buy their lunch rather than take a packed one, check the menu ahead of time so you’ll know what options are available. Go over the menu with your child and discuss how important it is to make healthy choices, such as whole grains, raw veggies, milk, cheese, yogurt, and fruit. Don’t forget about after-school snacks! Children always seem to be starving when they get home in the afternoon, so be sure to have plenty of delicious, tooth-healthy items stocked in the kitchen ahead of time.

Keep your child’s smile safe with a mouthguard

If you have a student-athlete on your hands, you’ve probably already had to deal with an injury or two! We recommend your child wear a mouthguard whenever he or she is participating in an activity that carries a risk of heavy contact with players or equipment, or one where falling is likely. Most people tend to think of sports like football and hockey as the most dangerous to the teeth, but nearly half of all sports-related mouth injuries occur in basketball and baseball.

Our doctors will recommend the best mouth guard for your child. A properly fitted mouthguard can help protect your child’s mouth from injury if they are tackled, elbowed, or if they fall down. We’re happy to help you find the best mouthguard for your child!

Patient talking with a doctor and staff

Start this school year off with a smile thanks to Children’s Dental Center

Here at Children’s Dental Center, we have the tools needed to build a solid foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles! Our pediatric dentists are experts in their field, and provide the highest quality care to all our patients. We are proud to serve families in Memphis and the surrounding areas, and offer a wide variety of dental care to the children we treat, from first appointments to emergency care. Get in touch today to schedule a back-to-school checkup for your child and start this school year off with a smile!