We don’t want to be “those people”, but August is National Back to School Month. As parents, guardians, teachers and students, it’s inevitable whether we’re ready for it or not! With shorter days upon us, it’s almost time to dust off the backpacks, fill them up, and plan for a new school year. Preparing children for the new year includes everything from supplies, clothes, planning schedules, making new friends, and checkups. That last category mentioned? That’s where we come in!
Now, we’re not saying you threw all dental hygiene rules out the window once the summer hit, but it’s probably fair to say that many of us applied a more lax approach to daily living. Here are some tips on how you can reintroduce and help everyone to readjust to a new & improved dental healthcare routine as back to school season reaches full swing:
Establish a Morning Routine
We recommend getting your child into the habit of brushing his or teeth right out of bed. A good way to establish a pattern is to leave a sticky note with a reminder on a night stand, the back of their bedroom door or on his or her toothbrush. You may be asking why, and here’s our explanation: if you eat first, we recommend waiting 30 minutes to brush, but most of us don’t have the luxury of that amount of time on a busy morning. Acid visits your teeth after you eat, which can weaken your tooth enamel. It takes about 30-45 minutes for saliva to restore the enamel, and rushing the brushing can damage your teeth while your enamel is working hard to get back to its previous state.
School Snacks & Beverages
Traditionally, as parents, we know what we send our children out the door with for food & drinks during school hours. However, we also know that kids are kids and that they may trade, throw out, or purchase an item that’s more appealing to them. I.e. something we’d prefer they didn’t have, like sugary snacks or soda. We’d recommend doing your due diligence and sending your child to school with fruits & veggies for a snack and a water bottle for hydration. Because it’s not customary for a child to bring a toothbrush or floss to school (though we’d never discourage it!), they’ll typically go 8-10 hours without brushing their teeth. What they put into their mouths during this time can significantly impact the way their teeth are treated.
Develop an After School Routine
If your child is used to indulging in an after school snack before diving into homework, heading out to play with friends, or engaging in an athletic practice or another afternoon activity, then encourage snack time to occur immediately upon arriving home. Again, encourage your child to engage in proper brushing & flossing techniques approximately 30-45 minutes after consuming the snack.
We’re curious to hear how you’re preparing for back to school season during National Back to School Month, and we’re eager to know what kinds of routines your family will be implementing or has already implemented. Feel free to share your comments below!