Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the beginning of this school year is unlike any that has come before it. Even if your child’s education isn’t completely remote, kids are spending more and more time at home than ever before. Without the daily routine of physically going to school every day, it can be hard to stay on track with your little one’s dental health. To prevent your son or daughter from developing cavities, read the following four tips about maintaining excellent oral health for kids.
1. Schedule a Back-to-School Checkup and Cleaning
Many parents have understandably been concerned about whether it’s safe to visit the dentist during a pandemic, but rest assured that it is. Even before COVID-19 struck, dental offices were among the cleanest places on the planet. They’ve implemented additional safety protocols to minimize the risk of infection and put their patients’ minds at ease.
Children (and adults) need a dental checkup and cleaning at least twice a year. At these appointments, the dentist can check for any signs of problems, such as cavities, and take care of them while treatment is still relatively easy and inexpensive.
2. Use the Same Oral Hygiene Routine for Weekdays and Weekends
Repetition is essential for making sure kids learn basic life skills. If you make brushing and flossing a part of your child’s daily routine, they’re more likely to stick to these habits on their own when they become an adult. Even if your child has a different bedtime on the weekends, they should still brush first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.
3. Feed Your Child a Healthy Balanced Diet
Since food is more readily available at home, they’re going to think about snacking more often than they would in a classroom. Make sure they have access to plenty of healthy snacks like carrot sticks, apples, and low-fat yogurt instead of chips or sugary candy. Your child’s oral health directly impacts the health of the rest of their body, so it’s important to keep your kitchen stocked with mouth-healthy foods.
4. Incorporate Dental Care into Their School Lessons
No matter how old your child is, oral hygiene can become a learning opportunity. You could create a counting game for brushing or make a two-minute educational song that correlates with what your child is learning. For older kids, you could challenge them to solve a “riddle of the day” before they’re finished brushing. This helps get their brain working in the morning!
Just because you’re homeschooling your son or daughter doesn’t mean their oral health has to fall by the wayside. Follow these tips to help set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
About the Author
Dr. James R. Nelson obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry. Since then, he has trained at the prestigious Spear Institute, become certified in Invisalign, and joined several professional organizations, including the American Dental Association. If you’d like to schedule your child’s back-to-school checkup, or learn more about maintaining good oral health for kids, visit his website or call 504-887-3311.