As kids and teens head back to school to fill the halls and classrooms (and football fields and lunchrooms…) of educational institutions, here are a few dental-related thoughts to help make sure they can get the best out of their learning experience:
Eat a healthy diet. This consists of a balanced meal including one food from each food group- milk & milk products, vegetables, fruits, grains and meat.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work correctly It’s recommended to drink 6-8 8 ounce glasses of water each day.
Pack tooth-friendly foods as snacks. Avoid sticky or sugary foods and carbs that stick to the teeth. Fruit snacks and dried fruits are sticky and cling to the teeth…. So are dry carbs like saltine crackers and pretzels! Better options are low-acid fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and cheeses. Cheese can actually balance out an acidic pH!
Get plenty of rest. Children need at least 9 hours of sleep each day. Your body needs rest to rejuvenate. With plenty of sleep you will be alert and focused during you daily schedule.
Wear a mouth guard for most physical activities. Make sure you equip your child with a well-fitting mouth guard for after school sports practices and even physical education classes, since many types of fitness activities can cause falls and facial injuries.
Get regular cleanings and checkups. Making sure to maintain a 6-month routine checkup regime is important for helping keep teeth in ideal shape and nip any problems in the bud before they turn into bigger issues. And on that note:
Get fillings and other recommended dental work done in a timely manner. Untreated decay can turn into pain that can result in poor school performance and unplanned absences. Toothaches and dental emergencies are responsible for an estimated 2.26 million missed school days each year.
Fortify with fluoride. Fluoride during the school-aged years helps strengthen the mineral composition of the enamel in developing teeth, which shores up the natural cavity defenses of the teeth. Use fluoride toothpaste and get fluoride treatments at routine dental visits.
Take advantage of sealants. Sealants help prevent decay by sealing up the tiny creases and crevices in the chewing surfaces of molars- those tiny cracks that are easily packed with bacteria-fueling food particles but hard to clean. This is best done when teeth are newly erupted as they are in school-aged children, tweens, and teens.
At Davis Family Dentistry we know so many of our patients are students or parents of students. These are just a few tips and reminders for keeping your child or teen’s teeth in tip-top shape while getting back into the school year groove. We hope you have an awesome school year – one that puts a smile on your face every day!