Back to School Oral Health Tips From Our Children’s Dentists

Back to School Oral Health Tips From Our Children’s Dentists

As pupils up and down the country get ready to go back to school, getting them prepared with all the necessary supplies and routines is essential. Yet one aspect of their overall wellbeing that often gets overlooked is their oral health, and the importance of caring for their healthy and strong smile. With the new school year just around the corner, our team of children’s dentists has compiled a list of essential tips to help your children maintain good oral hygiene habits throughout the school year, so start this term off right with our effective techniques and advice.

The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene in Children

Good oral hygiene is crucial for children as it sets the foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Just like adults, children can experience common oral health issues such as tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease, which are caused by poor oral hygiene and bacteria in the mouth.

Issues such as these can lead to other problems for children, such as discomfort, pain, and even difficulty eating and speaking in some extreme cases, as well as the huge impact that oral health issues have on a child’s self-esteem, confidence, and overall wellbeing at such an important developmental time. Many of these problems require extensive dental procedures from specialist children’s dentists, such as fillings and extractions, if left untreated, and all can be avoided with a commitment to good oral hygiene and an established dental routine that includes regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups.

Oral Hygiene Routine

Setting a clear oral hygiene routine is crucial for children to develop healthy habits that they can carry into adulthood. The routine that our children’s dentists recommend should consist of regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing to ensure thorough cleaning and protection against oral health issues, as well as regular discussions to ensure that your child understands why this routine is in place.

To start, ensure that your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day, using the proper brushing techniques, including brushing all surfaces of the teeth, the gums, and the tongue. When brushing, emphasise the importance of reaching the molars, as they are often neglected but prone to cavities, and remind your child to brush their tongue gently to remove bacteria and freshen their breath.

Encourage them to brush for at least two minutes each time, using gentle circular motions, and remind them that brushing is an essential part of maintaining their overall health and appearance, rather than a mundane daily chore. Making oral hygiene fun and engaging, by engaging them in discussions and encouraging them to take responsibility for their oral hygiene, is an excellent way of engaging older children. However, for younger children, consider more physically and visually stimulating activities, such as using child-friendly toothbrushes featuring their favourite colours, or playing their favourite song as a timer for brushing, to establish a positive association with the routine and build long-term habits.

In addition to brushing, teach your child how to floss properly between the teeth and along the gumline to remove plaque and food particles that brushing alone may not reach.

Lastly, rinsing with an effective mouthwash reduces bacteria in the mouth and completes the daily cleaning routine. Choose a mouthwash that is specifically formulated for children, as some adult mouthwashes may contain alcohol, which can be harmful if swallowed.

Healthy Eating Habits

In addition to proper oral hygiene practices, a healthy diet plays a crucial role in maintaining children’s oral health. The food and drinks children consume have a direct impact on their teeth and gums, so it is important to encourage a balanced diet and limit sugary foods, drinks, and snacks. When consumed, the bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugars present in these foods, producing acids that attack the tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay and the formation of cavities. Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and carbonated drinks, also erode tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay.

While these foods are not necessarily unhealthy, it is important to consume them in moderation and rinse the mouth with water afterward to minimise the acid’s effects. Encourage your child to choose healthier alternatives, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and water, rather than sugary snacks, and be sure to implement a healthy diet for the whole household for better oral health and long-term wellness. By promoting a balanced diet and teaching children about the impact of food on their oral health, you can help them make healthier choices and protect their teeth and gums, as well as ensure that they are prioritising a healthy lunch and good diet once they return to school and are in charge of what they eat throughout the school day.

Preventive Measures at School

School is a prime environment for the spread of bacteria and germs, which can lead to health issues and illness, including oral health issues. However, there are several preventive measures that our team of children’s dentists recommend you take to protect your child’s oral health while they are at school, including:

Giving your child a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste in their school bag so that they can keep their teeth and gums clean throughout the school day. Not only will your child be able to remove food particles and bacteria from their teeth after lunch or break time snacks, but they will also be able to take a few minutes to freshen up their teeth and care for themselves throughout the day.

Reminding your child about the importance of avoiding sharing food, drinks, or utensils with their classmates. Sharing these items can transfer harmful bacteria from one mouth to another, increasing the risk of tooth decay and other oral health issues.

Teaching your child the importance of staying hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Water helps rinse away food particles and stimulates saliva production, which can help neutralise acids and protect the teeth, as well as keeping your child’s mouth clean and fresh throughout the day.

Lastly, consider providing your child with a mouthguard if they participate in sports activities at school to protect their teeth from injuries and reduce the risk of dental emergencies.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining good oral health in children, and at Marsh House our team of specialist children’s dentists can detect early signs of oral health issues, provide necessary treatments, and offer guidance on proper oral hygiene practices.

It is recommended to schedule dental check-ups every six months, or as advised by your child’s dentist. During these visits, our dentists will examine your child’s teeth and gums and assess their overall health, as well as offering more specialist treatments as required, such as restorative services, cosmetic dentistry, and fillings.

Regular dental check-ups also provide an opportunity to address any concerns or questions you or your child may have. Our experienced team of expert children’s dentists can offer personalised advice on oral hygiene routines, diet, and any specific issues your child may be experiencing, to ensure that your child’s oral health and development is monitored and any potential problems are addressed quickly.

Promoting a Lifetime of Healthy Smiles with Children’s Dentists

As the new school year begins, it is important to prioritise your child’s oral health alongside other back-to-school preparations. By following a daily oral hygiene routine, implementing a healthy diet, and scheduling regular dental check-ups with our team of children’s dentists, you can help your child maintain excellent long-term oral health and set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

So, start this school year off right by ensuring that your children have the knowledge and tools they need to care for their teeth and gums and prioritising their oral health with a check-up at our practice.