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Back to School tips on oral health

Back-to-School

Back to school tips on packed lunches, snacks and a routine that includes good oral health habits

Our pediatric dental office is a staff full of mothers. We certainly understand the challenges of getting kids to eat healthy to maintain not only oral health but overall health. When grocery shopping for lunches and snacks remember to choose wisely. Take into account not only what tastes good but what is good for them as well.

Do pack:

  • fresh fruits
  • carrot and celery sticks with dressing for dipping fun
  • a zip lock bag full of high fiber unsweetened cereal
  • low fat popped pop corn
  • Dried fruit
  • low fat granola bars
  • bean dip, salsa and corn chips for scooping goodness
  • low fat yogurt tubes
  • high protein beef jerky
  • string cheeses
  • cinnamon apple sauce
  • low fat chocolate milk

While not all lunches and snacks will  be 100% healthy, avoid the following:

  • Capri Suns and other non nutritional juices. Pack real fruit juice with no added sugar. Limit natural juices as well due to natural sugars and acids. Use a straw to reduce acid contact on teeth.
  • Fruit snacks. We recommend cutting this type of snack out of child's diet completely.
  • Soda's, sports drinks and energy drinks. Teenagers especially love these types of beverages. The sugar and acid levels in these drinks are horrible for enamel and not to mention, are empty calories too. Diet soda's are bad for tooth enamel as well and also cause staining. 
  • Starchy, refined carbohydrates.
  • Cookies and candies

 

Going back to school and the importance of a brushing teeth routine for your child! 

If your child is starting preschool, now is the perfect time for them to start a brushing routine on their own. Morning and night after meals for two minutes each time. Make them feel like a really big kid by purchasing a tooth timer, handheld flossers, fluoride rinse and possibly a children's electric toothbrush that times them with music. Make part of learning to read also part of learning to brush their teeth. There are many fun dental books to include in their bedtime routine. 

click here for book ideas

 

 

Getting teens to brush

 

 

How do I get my teen to brush their teeth?

teens

When children hit puberty, brushing habits can start to slip.  Not only can habits slip, but it becomes harder to monitor things like their sugar intake as well. These two facts can be bad news for teeth.  As parents we hear that we need to choose our battles with our teens.  Oral hygiene is a battle worth fighting.  Down the road poor hygiene can lead to cavities, gum disease and eventually tooth loss.  Battling teenagers takes consistency and sometimes creativity.

Explain in detail now that your child is a teen.

Play off of this vain age. Talk to your teen about long term consequences. Play up on the fact that not brushing is bad for their looks as well as their health. Yellow teeth, discolored teeth, bad breath and red gums are all very unattractive. Remind your teen how attractive a beautiful smile is.

Make it more interesting.

Upgrade their tooth brush, tooth paste and mouth wash to adult care. Play off technology and have them listen to their ipod while they brush. Have your teen google visuals of poor oral hygiene and what bacteria looks like under a microscope.  An age appropriate reward system never hurts.

Go to the experts.

All of us parents know that teens listen to others better then to us most of the time.  Make sure your child is still going to the dentist for their regular check ups. Have our doctors and team go over brushing and what will happen if they don't.  If you would like us to spend extra time going over oral hygiene, just ask and we will be happy to.  Make sure though that you do not use going to the dentist as a punishment.  

Remember to be a good example.

Monkey see, monkey do. Remember that your teen now more then ever notices your choices. A parent who takes care of their teeth and goes to the dentist regularly is more likely to  pass on these good habits to their children.

The Importance of baby Teeth

 

 

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Baby teeth are as important to infants and children as permanent teeth are to older children and adults. The average for first teeth to erupt is 6 months of age and all 20 primary teeth usually erupt by the age of three. 

Baby teeth:

  • are necessary for children to chew properly
  • hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums
  • are necessary for proper speech

If a child loses a baby tooth too early, the space must be saved with a space maintainer. Accidents and dental disease may be reasons for a primary tooth to be lost. If space is not maintained, the new permanent tooth may erupt out of its proper position. This can effect the positioning of other teeth that leads to crowding and bite misalignment that needs correction with orthodontics.

Regular dental check ups that offer preventative measures and diagnose disease early on, are important tools in keeping baby teeth healthy and in place until the permanent teeth are ready to erupt.

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