As the summer draws to a close, parents and children of all ages begin to plan for a new back to school routine. Soon forgotten will be the lazy days of summer and in its place will be more structure, more activities and more juggling of time and resources. With the start of school also comes new beginnings and a host of other aspects of life that are off to a fresh start – new clothes, new friends, a new teacher and new activities. This is also a good time of year to establish or reinforce a fresh start of proper dental care.
Some families make a routine trip to the dentist part of their back to school routine, much in the same way that they may include a doctor’s visit or a new haircut in the schedule at this time of year. While it is not a necessity that your child visits the dentist before the school year begins, it is important that he or she stick to a regular schedule of preventative dental appointments. If you already have a pediatric dentist that your child visits, he or she should be familiar with the routine and the visit should not be a source of fear or uneasiness.
Having your child visit a pediatric dentist, or a family dental practice that offers pediatric dentistry services, can go a long way towards making your child feel comfortable during a trip to the dental office. Not only are these types of dentists experienced in treating children, but they generally also create an environment in which a child feels more at ease so that going to the dentist is not a scary ordeal.
In addition to regular visits to the dentist, you should also encourage your child to stick to a solid routine of oral hygiene. This means brushing teeth at least twice per day, for approximately two minutes per brushing, as well as once per day flossing. Don’t let a crazy morning schedule get in the way of proper tooth brushing – be sure children understand that brushing their teeth thoroughly before heading to school is as important to their overall good health as putting on a pair of shoes before walking out the door.
Now is also a good time to re-evaluate the types of foods that you pack in your child’s lunch each day to ensure that the midday meal is not only nutritious for the body but also not detrimental to dental health. Try to stay clear of overly sugary and sticky foods, especially since your child will not have a chance to brush his or her teeth after eating lunch. Opt for water instead of sugary drinks and fruit instead of candy for a sweet treat. Crunchy foods, such as carrots or apples, will also help to remove food particles or bacteria that stick to teeth.
By starting or reinforcing a routine of good oral care at the start of the school year, including regular trips to a pediatric dentist, you set your child up for a year of healthy teeth and a lifetime of fewer dental problems.
For more information about the pediatric dentistry services offered by Gentle Dental in Queens, call 718-461-0100.