It’s time to go back to school. While you’re out and about getting new clothes, notebooks, and backpacks for your young ones, you don’t want to forget about that all-important dental check-up. When your children’s dental health is in check, they won’t have to get distracted by tooth pain when in the classroom or miss school for an emergency dental appointment.
Here’s how to start off the school year in the right way when it comes to your children’s dental hygiene.
Seeing An Orthodontist
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends to parents that children aged seven and up need to start seeing an orthodontist. It is around this time when children start to get four molars and four adult incisors. While your orthodontist may not recommend that your seven-year-old child get braces, they may come up with a plan of care for your kid. This plan of care could depend on your child having issues such as overcrowded teeth and a bad bite. If your child does need to get braces, orthodontic treatment can start before the beginning of school.
Scheduling a Dental Checkup For Your Kids
Schedule an appointment for your children at the beginning of the school year so that you’ll easily remember the last time your kids were at the dentist. At the checkup, your dentist will do x-rays and an exam. During this exam, the dentist will look out for some of the following issues:
- Weak enamel
- Wisdom teeth (for older teens)
Set your children’s dental appointments about a month before the start of school. If your children have cavities, this could require multiple visits. By taking care of these situations early, your child won’t have to miss any school.
Back To Dental Hygiene Routines
During the summer months, rigid oral hygiene routines may have gotten interrupted as schedules became looser. A couple of weeks before your kids go back to school, set them up on a schedule so that they’re brushing their teeth in the morning when they wake up and before they retire for the night. Make sure that they brush their teeth for two straight minutes. If you have younger children, you might have to supervise them the first few times to ensure that they have the correct technique.
Establish A Brushing Routine Through Habit Stacking
Charles Duhigg wrote an excellent book called “The Power of Habit,” which talks about how habits get formed, how to break bad habits and take on better ones. In the book, Duhigg talks about a process called “habit stacking” where new habits get formed by latching them onto pre-existing ones. Let’s say that your children watch television after they eat dinner. After their hour of television, they go to bed. You could stack a brushing routine onto the television watching habit by having your kids brush their teeth during a commercial break or right after their television show goes off. You might have to exert your fair share of discipline to rip your kids away from the television for two minutes. But in a few weeks or months, the new brushing routine will get so ingrained that your children may automatically get up to brush their teeth during an “America’s Got Talent” commercial break.
Start Your Children Flossing
By the time your child starts school for the first time, their teeth will have begun to grow closer together. Many dentists recommend that you start flossing your child’s teeth when they’re as young as two years old. By the time your child turns ten, they should be able to floss on their own.
If your children don’t floss already, try to get them started before the school year begins. If your children are too young to floss by themselves, do it for them so that your children will come to expect to floss as part of their daily oral hygiene routine. You can get advice from your dentist for ways to teach your children how to floss correctly.