Back to School Dental Health Checklist

As summer comes to a close, it’s time to make sure your kids’ teeth are ready for the next school year. Did you know that over 51 million school hours are lost every year due to dental illness and dental injuries?

Following this checklist will help you prepare your kids for maintaining their dental health and keeping their smiles healthy all year long.

Oral Hygiene Routine

Whenever there’s a change of routine, like going back to school, it’s good to review the normal routine items with your child. They might be used to waking up or going to bed at different times in the summer versus during the school year, so make sure they keep their tooth brushing habits going while they transition back to school.

Problems you prevent with a healthy oral hygiene routine:

  • Plaque and tartar buildup
  • Gum disease
  • Cavities
  • Gingivitis
  • Tooth decay

Get a New Toothbrush

Toothbrushes should be replaced once every three months or so. And with summer vacation being about three months long, going back to school is a great excuse to make the swap! Remember that the best toothbrushes to use at any age are ultra-soft bristle toothbrushes. These prevent damage and wear that comes from using hard-bristled brushes, and they also reduce the damage that might be caused by improper brushing techniques.

Buy Floss

As soon as your child’s teeth meet, it’s time to get them used to floss. If it’s been a while since your family visited your pediatric dentist, then make sure you have enough floss or flossers to start the school year off right.

Have a Back to School Dental Check-Up

Once the school year gets started, it only speeds up. Make sure you and your child have biannual appointments set up with your dentist early so you don’t double book yourself. Also, having these appointments will help prevent cavities and other oral health problems.

Make Sure You Have Mouth Guards for Your Sports Kids

If your kids are involved in contact sports or other intense sports, make sure they have protective dental mouth guards. At Snodgrass-King we can help find the right fit of a mouth guard for your child. 

It’s important that these mouthguards are fitted properly for maximum protection.

Buy Your Child a Portable Water Bottle

Drinking enough water is essential for not only overall health but also oral health. Drinking enough water helps your gums stay hydrated and healthy. Also, drinking water helps flush out bacteria and sugars so they don’t have time to damage your teeth.

Another benefit of drinking water regularly is that the Nashville water supply, thanks to Metro Water Services, adds a small amount of fluorine to help us keep up with our oral health! Plus by encouraging your kids to drink water regularly, they’ll avoid sodas that have harmful acids–not to mention tons of sugar.

Plan Healthy Lunches and Snacks

Sugar is the bane of every healthy smile. However, that shouldn’t scare you away from preparing foods with natural sugars for your kids’ meals. For example, apples are a great option for a sweet tooth while also helping promote healthy teeth!

Other good dental foods include:

  • Celery Sticks
  • Carrots
  • Snap Peas
  • Green, Red, or Orange Bell Peppers

Want to learn more about foods that are good for your kids’ teeth? Check out this article below:

10 Foods That Are Good For Your Teeth

Schedule an Orthodontist Appointment

Did you know that an orthodontist can tell if your child will need braces as early as the age of 7? That means if your child is around this age and hasn’t had their orthodontic evaluation yet, then it’s time to schedule one!

Help Your Child Deal With Stress

Stress affects us no matter how old we are. And transition times are one of the most stressful times for all of us. That includes going back to school. Not to mention if your kids have changed schools since last school year.

Keep an eye on them. Ask them about their day. Pay attention to how they’re feeling and responding to the change. Do your best to help them adjust.

The main reason that stress is related to dental health is because of teeth grinding. Overly stressed people, yes even children, can find themselves grinding their teeth.

If You Have Teenagers, Teach Them the Downsides of Mouth Piercings

Even though we’re not seeing tongue or lip piercings in pop culture as often as we did 20 or so years ago, some teenagers still think they’re cool. Make sure you educate your teen about the medical problems that can come from oral piercings.

The Negative Effects of Oral Piercings

Make a Plan for Dental Emergencies

As much as we don’t want them to, emergencies happen. Dental sports injuries like losing a tooth, chipping teeth, breaking a jaw, or breaking teeth can occur during regular sports activities at any time. Knowing what to do in the first few minutes after a dental injury is essential.

Being prepared for a dental injury can mean the difference between permanently losing a tooth and saving it. Also, if your child is prepared, they’ll be less likely to panic during an emergency.

Wisdom Teeth Evaluations & Dental X-Rays

For teenagers, it’s time to figure out if their wisdom teeth need to be extracted or not. Usually, dental x-rays will be done during one of your regular dental cleaning appointments. Your dentist will then review these x-rays looking for any signs of tooth decay and how the wisdom teeth will come in.

If your child does need their wisdom teeth extracted, then you can work with our office staff to find a surgeon who can perform the wisdom tooth extraction.

Why You Should Check Over Your Child’s Dental Health Before Going Back to School

Did you know that baby teeth plan an important role in how your child learns to talk? Therefore it’s essential for your child to have a healthy smile and avoid losing teeth due to traumatic injuries.

Your Dental Health Resource: The Role of Baby Teeth in Your Child’s Speech Development

Not surprisingly, some kids feel embarrassed or uncomfortable with their smiles. The same thing goes for parents and adults in general. Having a better smile can seriously boost your child’s self-confidence. 

Why not give your child the opportunity to fix any oral issues? Two dental checkups a year can keep away cavities and other serious dental problems.

Statistics on Smiles + Dental Hygiene:

  • About 45% of people are unhappy with their smiles.
  • People with good teeth are 58% more likely to be noted as successful.
  • Roughly 30% of people say they notice teeth first.
  • 74% of people think that bad teeth can damage their success rate in life.
  • 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental illness
  • Learn more about smiles and school success

Looking at these statistics, you can see that taking care of your child’s dental health will certainly help their success. Furthermore, missing fewer days of school and being more focused are absolutely two positives. No parent likes to see a child sick or fall behind in school for problems that may in fact have easy solutions.

Why wait until your child becomes an adult to have a dental check-up? Childhood dental hygiene carries into adulthood, and all of the issues continue.

It’s easy – request an appointment online with us! Nervous? Don’t be. Nip the bad dental hygiene in the bud, and send your child to school with a permanent grin.

Why Are Mouth Guards Important for School Sports?

School sports are valuable experiences enjoyed by many children. However, multiple extracurricular activities present a risk to your child’s teeth. Chipped teeth from sports are only one of many orofacial injuries that are possible. So, getting a mouth guard is essential if you want to help your child keep their healthy and full smile in one piece.

That sweet smile needs proper protection, so why not look into getting a custom-made mouthguard? It’s like taking the time to get the best cleats or running shoes for your child’s feet. Especially if your child’s already had braces. You want to protect that investment, right?

How to Get a Custom Mouth Guard

When you come into Snodgrass-King and want to get a mouth guard for your child, we’ll begin by taking an impression of your child’s teeth so we know exactly how to protect them. Then, we’ll use that mold to create a snug, comfortable, and totally protective mouthguard.

The process usually takes about 2-3 weeks, so getting this done during the summer is the way to go.

What Are Mouth Guards Made Out Of?

A mouthguard is generally made of plastic, which is formed to curve along with the teeth and gums. There are three types of dental mouth guards: stock, boil & bite, and custom-fit.

Each type of guard protects from broken teeth, bitten tongues, tooth injuries, damaged teeth, splitting teeth, and other sports-related dental injuries.

Can My Child Wear a Mouth Guard if They Have Braces?

Yes! In fact, we recommend it. Braces tend to make any impact to the face much more harmful to the inside of the mouth. A custom-fitted mouthguard will protect the inside of your child’s mouth from getting shredded by the brackets if they get hit in the face during sports activities.

Taking Care of A Mouth Guard

Just like any oral appliance, mouth guards should be taken care of regularly.

If your child does have a mouth guard, it should be cleaned often. Like a retainer, a mouthguard should be brushed and rinsed before and after each use. The guard should also be deep cleaned weekly and then left to air dry.

It should also be kept in a safe and clean place, like a retainer case. Avoiding high temperatures will keep the mouth guard from warping or melting. Inevitably, a well-worn mouth guard will show wear, so having a backup mouth guard is handy!

Basic Benefits Of Dental Mouth Guards

  • Prevent broken teeth
  • Prevent cuts and bruising on gums and tongue
  • Prevent teeth from moving
  • Absorb shock when an impact is made to the mouth
  • Prevent braces/dental appliances from interfering in the mouth

Fun fact: Dental mouth guards come in multiple colors. What kid wouldn’t love that!?

Get Back to School Ready at Snodgrass-King Pediatric Dentistry

Does your child need his or her routine teeth cleaning? Coming in for a custom-fit mouthguard? Let’s get your child set up for one of our back-to-school dental checkups. 

Schedule an appointment here through our website or give us a call!