The start of the school year is a hectic time for both kids and parents. Between busy work schedules, homework, and extracurricular activities, it’s tempting to let your child’s oral health take the back burner from time to time. However, consistently working to establish a thorough dental routine is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

That’s why Surf City Dental is here to help. Below, we’ve compiled a few simple tips that can assist you in building a routine and making smart choices when it comes to keeping your little one’s teeth and gums at the head of the class!

1. Make Brushing FUN!

Any parent knows, getting your child excited about brushing and flossing can feel like an uphill battle. But there are a few ways you can keep it interesting and keep them engaged throughout the process.

Let your child choose new gear
Giving your kids a chance to pick out a new toothbrush and toothpaste at the start of the school year is a great first step in getting them excited to jump into a daily oral routine. Whether your child is into superheroes or super bright colors, there are tons of fun options!

Check the packaging to make sure the toothbrush your kiddo picks has soft bristles, which are gentler on their sensitive gums, and is the appropriate size for their mouth. When it comes to toothpaste, ensure they’re using one with fluoride and the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval.

Turn oral hygiene into a game
Let’s face it – sometimes brushing and flossing can feel like a chore. The Surf City Dental team, however, knows a few tricks that can help you make it more appealing.

For example, let your child select a song to play while they’re brushing and challenge them to brush (and dance!) for the entire length of the song, or at least 2 minutes. You can also begin a rewards system, where your child receives a sticker each time they brush and floss their teeth each day. Once they reach a predetermined goal, they receive a prize, like going to a movie or choosing the game on family game night.

2. Consistency Is Key

Over the summer, oral hygiene routines can sometimes fall to the wayside, making it tough to get back in the groove once school begins. But establishing a consistent dental routine – and sticking to it – is essential in keeping your child’s oral health on track.

As best you can, Surf City Dental recommends you encourage your child to brush and floss around the same time every day. If you can group it into another set of daily activities — like making the bed, picking out an outfit for the following day, or reading a bedtime story — even better!

It may also help to get the whole family involved. Leading by example can work wonders when it comes to getting your little ones excited about oral health. If they see you and their older siblings brushing and flossing daily, they’re more likely to want to join in.

3. Choose Smart Snacks

It can be tempting to reach for pre-packaged snacks and sugary drinks when packing lunches or stocking the cabinets and refrigerator with after-school options. However, these types of food and drink can wreak havoc on your child’s teeth and gums. Instead, look for options that are low in fat and acidity and high in calcium, phosphorous, protein, and vitamins C and D.

The following Surf City Dental recommendations will keep both you and your child smiling:

  • Apple slices and tropical fruits
  • Raw carrots, cucumbers, and celery with dip
  • Sliced chicken and turkey on whole wheat bread
  • Cheese sticks and yogurt cups

When it comes to drinks, water is one of the best options for keeping harmful bacteria at bay. Send your child to school with a refillable water bottle and keep a pitcher of water in the fridge for easy access when they get home.

Of course, it’s also imperative to schedule regular check-ups with your child’s Surf City Dentist to catch any issues before they become a major pain. The tips above, however, will help keep your little one’s mouth looking and feeling great in between visits and have them well on their way to acing dental health this school year!