Dr. Paul Perella, DMD

5 BACK TO SCHOOL DENTAL TIPS

It's the time of year that kids dread and parents rejoice...back to school!!!!

There are just a couple more weeks until the new school year starts. Visiting the dentist while your kids are still on summer break makes good sense. There might be an issue the dentist needs to address, which will be much easier to do while they are still out, before the hectic school year schedules start.

But when you send them off in their new clothes and new shoes, make sure you're sending them off armed with good oral hygiene habits as well. Here are 5 Back to School Tips:

1. You should have been brushing your child's teeth as soon as they appeared, and then they should take over once they are old enough to do it themselves. Brushing and flossing before and after school regularly removes bacteria from the mouth and prevents decay and gum disease.

2. Involve your children in the process by letting them choose their own toothbrush. Make sure that the brush has soft bristles and is the correct size for their age. Also, experiment with toothpaste flavors. Mint flavors are often too strong for children, so try several different flavors to find their favorite. The more they like the flavor, the more they will want to brush their teeth.

3. Pack healthy lunch and snacks. By including portable healthy lunch items in your child's lunchbox, you can help manage the sugary and acidic foods your child eats. If your child eats the school cafeteria food, review the menu with him/her and encourage them to choose the healthier options. Discuss with them why certain foods are better than others.

4. Have your child outfitted for a mouthguard. For many children, a new school year means the start of sports and other physical activities. A well-fitting mouthguard will protect their teeth from a painful injury.

5. Schedule twice a year appointments with your dentist. While good home care is extremely important, it is still necessary to schedule time to see your dentist. A dentist will thoroughly clean and examine your child's teeth and address any potential issues like cavities or gum disease. Catching these problems early will prevent them from escalating in the future.