August 6, 2023
As your child heads back to the classroom, school supplies aren’t the only things they need to be successful during the year ahead. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 51 million school hours are lost annually from dental issues. With your child’s oral health linked to their academic performance, don’t let a toothache stand in the way of succeeding in the classroom. Here are 5 back-to-school tips to keep their mouth healthy.
1. Promote Good Oral Hygiene
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of children 5-11 years of age have at least one untreated cavity. Tooth decay is more common than childhood asthma, despite being preventable.
You can keep cavities at bay by encouraging good oral hygiene at home. Your child should brush their teeth at least twice per day for 2 minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Around the age of 6, introduce daily flossing to clean areas their toothbrush can’t reach.
2. Limit Sugars and Starches
As you pack your child’s lunch for the day, limit sugars and starches, which feed cavity-causing bacteria. Instead of cookies and chips, include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Low-fat dairy products are great snacks to promote healthy enamel.
3. Encourage Drinking Tap Water
It’s easy for your little one to become dehydrated during the school day if they aren’t drinking enough water. Ensure they are staying hydrated to keep their mouth moist to reduce oral bacteria growth. Encourage them to drink tap water, which contains fluoride to strengthen their enamel to make it more resistant to decay.
4. Invest in an Athletic Mouthguard
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 600,000 people every year visit emergency rooms for sports-related dental issues. If your child will be playing sports during an upcoming season, invest in an athletic mouthguard. It will provide a protective barrier in case they experience an injury to their mouth. Besides preventing broken and knocked-out teeth, it can reduce the risk of jaw injuries and concussions.
5. Schedule a Cleaning and Checkup
Your child should have a cleaning and checkup every 6 months. Regular dental care prevents common oral health issues from occurring in the first place, like cavities and gum disease. Their dentist will ensure their teeth and gums are healthy, so a small issue doesn’t turn into a big problem during the school year.
You can ensure your child’s mouth is healthy and they feel their best, so they can spend more time focusing on their studies.
About Dr. John T. Thompson
Dr. Thompson achieved his dental degree from the Baylor College of Dentistry and has regularly continued his education in many specialties, including general dentistry. He treats patients of all ages to create generations of healthy smiles. Request an appointment through his website or call (361) 248-2127.
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