As we move into August, you’re probably busy shopping for school supplies and school clothes for your kids, planning out after-school activities, and maybe even getting ready for that last vacation before the first day of school. In all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for school to start, you want to make sure your kids’ smiles are back-to-school ready, too. Our family dentists in Cary and Holly Springs are sharing some tips to start the school year right and keep your kids teeth and gums healthy through the year.

Get Back into Brushing and Flossing Routines

We understand that schedules and routines tend to go right out the window over the summer. Bedtimes are flexible, meal times are whenever, and it’s not uncommon for kids to get out of the habit of brushing and flossing daily. Before school starts, it’s important to re-establish dental hygiene routines with your child.

  • For best results, toothbrushes should be replaced every three months, so, while you’re buying school supplies, let your child pick out a new brush to get back into the swing of their routine. Also, if your child gets sick, whether it’s a cold, flu, strep, or stomach bug, it’s important to replace their brush to prevent re-infection.
  • Make sure your child brushes their teeth twice a day for two minutes. To help, consider playing a song they like that is around that length of time.
  • For younger children, be sure to show them how to brush up and down with the brush angled toward the gumline, and also to brush in hard-to-reach places, including the backs of their teeth.
  •  Flossing is an important aspect of dental health and is necessary for removing food particles and plaque from between the teeth. You may want to supervise flossing a few times to make sure younger children aren’t damaging their sensitive gums.
  • Younger children may have better success with a water flosser or using a floss pick rather than traditional floss.

Packing Snacks and Lunches to Support Dental Health

In addition to brushing and flossing regularly, if you pack your child’s lunch and snacks, make sure what they are eating doesn’t undo all the good dental hygiene practices!

Great Lunchbox and Snacks for Dental Health

Here are some ideas for lunches and snacks to support healthy teeth and gums. Consider foods with no added sugar, crunchy items that help “scrub” the teeth of particles, and contain lots of vitamins and nutrients to nourish and strengthen your child’s teeth and gums.

  • String cheese or cheese cubes
  • Low-sugar yogurt
  • Celery sticks with peanut butter
  • Broccoli, carrot sticks, and sliced bell peppers
  • Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries
  • Apple slices
  • Whole grain bread
  • Almonds, peanuts, or other nuts
  • Bottled water

Foods to Avoid in Your Child’s Lunchbox

Because your child is not able to brush their teeth after lunch, you want to avoid sugary or sticky items that will feed bacteria in their mouths and cause cavities and gingivitis. We would recommend leaving these items at home:

  • White bread, pretzels, and starchy items that break down into simple sugars and stick to the teeth.
  • Fruit snacks and dried fruit, like raisins.
  • Fruit juice or sugar-sweetened drinks.
  • Candy
  • Sweetened applesauce pouches (stick with unsweetened instead).
  • Citrus fruits, like oranges, that have acids that can erode tooth enamel.

If your child will be eating school lunch, talk to them about making smart choices when possible, choosing whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Teeth Cleaning and Dental Checkup

When you’re in the midst of the chaos of keeping up with homework, extracurriculars, and other school-related activities, it can be difficult to make time for a dental checkup. Instead, make sure to schedule a teeth cleaning and dental checkup before school starts to make sure your kids are starting the year with a healthy smile. Any decay, cavities, or other issues can be addressed before school starts, and you won’t have to worry about scheduling an appointment around school hours and activities.

Schedule a Dental Checkup for Your Child Today

At Sninski & Schmitt, we know you have a lot going on all the time, but especially this time of year. That’s why we strive to provide a comfortable, hassle-free experience for our patients. If your child (or anyone in your family for that matter) needs a cleaning and checkup, we can help. Call us at our Holly Springs dentist office at (919) 600-6262 and our Cary, NC dentist office at (919) 467-2203, or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.