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Smile Bright! Back-to-School Dental Tips for a Healthy School Year!

Welcome back to school, students and parents! As the summer fun comes to an end, it’s time to gear up for a successful school year! At Integrity Dental, we believe that a healthy smile is an essential part of every student’s toolkit. In this blog post, we’ll share some valuable tips to ensure your child’s oral health stays in top shape as they head back to the classroom!

1. Schedule a Dental Checkup: Before the school year gets into full swing, schedule a dental checkup for your child. While you're at it, consider scheduling checkups for the whole family, too!

Regular dental checkups are crucial to catch any potential issues early and ensure a pain-free, confident smile and a school year with fewer interruptions. A paper published by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry highlights the impact that unplanned dental concerns can have on children, their self-esteem and relationships with their peers, and their overall performance in school. This same paper also estimates about 52 million school hours may be lost annually due to unplanned dental concerns, according to the most current data from the National Health Institute Survey.

One of our favorite quotes, credited to Benjamin Franklin, goes "An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure." We couldn't agree more. It's always better to be proactive instead of reactive. This typically results in less stress and less time and money spent at the dentist over time.

So, if you, your child or anyone else in your family is due for a dental checkup, give us a call today! We're here to help you maintain your healthiest and happiest smile so you can get back out there and be your best self!

2. Establish a Dental Routine: Encourage your child to maintain a consistent dental routine.

We recommend flossing at least once a day (at night, before bed) and brushing twice a day (morning and night) for at least two minutes.

We recommend an electric toothbrush because they make brushing so much easier and much more fun, but if a manual brush is more your cup of tea, then that's fine, too!

We recommend using a toothpaste that contains fluoride, a perfectly safe and all-natural element we like to think of as a vitamin for your teeth! Fluoride is remarkable in that it can actually repair our teeth when they weaken from things like sugary and acid foods and drinks, thereby lowering our risk of getting cavities.

Most importantly - make taking care of your child's teeth fun! Invite them to help you pick out their special toothbrush; try out fun toothpaste flavors; set a timer or brush along to a favorite song until it finishes! The possibilities are endless!

3. Pack Healthy Lunches: A balanced diet not only benefits overall health but also contributes to strong teeth. Include tooth-friendly snacks like crunchy vegetables and calcium-rich foods in your child’s lunchbox. Limit sugary snacks and drinks to occasional treats. Remember, soft drinks, sports drinks, juices and energy drinks are some of the worse drinks your child can consume, and are some of the most common causes of cavities we see in young patients. Your child doesn't have to avoid these drinks altogether, but we recommend limiting them to meal times only, and ideally no more than once per day. Remember, there's no better drink for our teeth and our bodies than water.

4. Stay Hydrated: Water isn't only essential for staying hydrated, but also for maintaining good oral health. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if they participate in sports or physical activities. If your child finds water too boring, try making it more fun! One of our favorite things to do is brew a bag of fruity tea in a mason jar or other heat-safe container the night before, then leave it in the fridge to steep and cool overnight. By the morning, you'll have a colorful, fun, and healthy alternative to plain water! Nowadays, some tea bags are even meant to be dropped into a container of cold water before heading out the door, and cold brew throughout the day. Just be sure to do your research and be sure that you're using a regular tea bag without any added ingredients like sugar or citric acid.

5. Protect Those Smiles: If your child plays contact sports, consider a custom-fitted mouthguard to protect their teeth from potential injuries. Our office offers custom-fitted mouthguards designed for comfort and safety. Interested in learning more? Give us a call today!

6. Replace Toothbrushes Regularly: Don’t forget to replace your child’s toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if the bristles begin to fray. One trick we like to use to remember when to change out an older toothbrush - go by the change in seasons! Each season lasts about 3-4 months, so welcome the start of each new season by swapping out that old toothbrush with a new one! Always use a soft or extra-soft toothbrush, as these are the most gentle on our delicate teeth and gums. And remember, you're not washing dishes, so you shouldn't be scrubbing those teeth! If your child tends to be heavy-handed and puts too much pressure on their toothbrush when brushing, it can not only wear out their toothbrush more quickly, but more importantly, can damage their teeth and gums. Click here for a helpful video on the proper technique for brushing those teeth! And as always, feel free to ask us directly during your child's next visit!

7. Be Mindful of Teeth Grinding: Stress related to schoolwork and extracurricular activities can sometimes lead to teeth grinding. If you notice signs of daytime clenching or nighttime grinding (such as headaches or worn teeth), let us know as soon as possible so we can intervene as quickly as possible and try to minimize damage to your child's teeth.

There you have it! Some helpful tips for a very healthy school year! Remember, a healthy smile is a vital asset for a successful school year. By following these tips and working hand-in-hand with Integrity Dental, you can help ensure your child’s oral health remains in top form. Remember, we’re here to support you every step of the way!

Wishing all students a fantastic and cavity-free school year! Don't forget to schedule your child’s back-to-school dental checkup with us today! Contact Integrity Dental to request an appointment and for all other inquiries.


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