With the new school year starting very soon, you’re probably doing everything possible to make sure your child is ready for a successful and happy year. While buying new clothes, choosing the right school supplies, and perusing school schedules are all important, so is your child’s oral health. To set your child up for success now and throughout their school year, this is the perfect time to do a little bit of smile prep. Here are three tips to help your child have a clean and healthy smile for the new year.

Arrange a Cleaning and Check-up

Dr. Davis recommends that her young patients come in for a cleaning and a check-up prior to the start of the school year. A routine cleaning allows your child to get rid of any plaque and tartar that may have accumulated, and it gives them a clean start on oral health for the new school year.

During the check-up, Dr. Davis can evaluate your child’s tooth and gum health. If there are any issues like cavities, they can be filled promptly to prevent the issue from worsening enough to require more complex treatment. If your child has signs of tooth decay or gum disease, Dr. Davis can recommend treatments like sealants or fluoride treatments. This type of treatment, when combined with careful dental care throughout the school year, can preserve health and prevent future problems.

Create Some Oral Health Care Goals For Your Child

During the school year, your child’s progress is measured by their teacher — and at home, you can create a progress chart to help them keep track of their oral health routine. Many children find it rewarding to have a progress chart that they can mark each time they brush. Aim to two checkmarks per day — one in the “morning” column and one in the “bedtime” column.

If your child can keep up a streak of a week, reward them with something they love. A new book, a small toy, or something else that keeps them motivated can work well — and many kids enjoy having a brushing chart just for the feeling of accomplishment that they derive from it.

Make Lunches and Snacks Healthy — But Still Fun

During the school year, your child can be particularly likely to binge on unhealthy foods because they’re away from your influence for longer. Fortunately, you can still have a hand in what your child eats even when you’re not there if you pack their lunch with healthy (but still interesting!) options.

Even when a food is healthy, kids are more likely to enjoy it if it’s packaged in a fun and unique way. Consider cut up veggies — but add an individual container of hummus dip for fun. Instead of a piece of fruit, make a mixed fruit salad or create mini fruit skewers. Instead of a plain old sandwich, make a “roll up” with a tortilla, meat, and cheese. You can make mini skewers of cheese cubes or pack the tiny pre-packaged cheese rounds for a fun and delicious treat. These ideas can also work as perfect after-school snacks — and they’re engaging enough to keep your child distracted from asking for potato chips, sugar, or other teeth-destroying options.

Looking For a Pediatric Dentist to Help Your Child Start the New School Year Out Right?

Dr. Maggie Davis is a Palm Harbor, Florida pediatric dentist who can help with all aspects of your child’s dental care. She’s here for back to school check-ups, dental emergencies, help with thumb or pacifier sucking, interceptive orthodontics, space maintenance, fillings, crowns, bonding, and much more. Dr. Davis delivers dental care with compassion and understanding, and she’s a favorite with kids of all ages. To ensure that your child is comfortable, Dr. Davis offers multiple sedation options for fillings or other dental work. Contact Dr. Davis to arrange your child’s back to school visit today!