No matter which emoji you’re using to describe how you feel about it, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s Back to School time.
Parents: How can you get back into the swing of things, get the kids out the door and into the classroom with their healthiest smile, AND keep your sanity? We have a few suggestions for any age group that just might help.
Healthy Smiles for All Ages
Toddlers through age 6: Busy Eyes + Hands = Healthy Mouths
If your young child is along for a trip to the dentist or orthodontist, it’s a great opportunity to teach them about the importance of visiting the dentist. You can also give your child a guided tour of a dental office and help get them used to the sights and sounds during this impressionable age. Just ask any of our staff at your local office– we are always happy to help create a positive experience for kids!
There are many fun ways to teach young kids all about teeth – what they are made of, how they work, and how to take good care of them. Children learn best when their senses are engaged. Craft projects and other hands-on activities are a great way to capture a child’s interest, even when it comes to dental health. Our Pinterest board just for kids is full of ideas for parents, daycares, babysitters, and teachers.
Charts, checklists and boards are used for many other things – why not incorporate dental health into the to-do list? Brushing teeth and flossing are an important part of the morning wake-up and bedtime routines. Reading is also great for a young developing mind, and there are quite a few great books about dental health and toothbrushing that can help get kids interested in their oral health from the start.
We recommend parents bring their children in for the first dental visit by 12 months of age, and every 6 months after that. Check out our helpful guide for making first and future dental visits a positive experience for kids, even if treatment may be needed. Baby teeth are softer and more porous than adult teeth, so if your child complains of pain or sensitivity, it’s important to bring them in for a visit as soon as possible.
By the time your child reaches this age range, they’re doing a lot of growing, including getting that 2nd set of primary molars, and maybe even losing a baby tooth or two and meeting the Tooth Fairy for the first time. This is a great opportunity to set great healthy habits that can last for life.
Ages 7 through 12: Let’s Keep One Thing Straight – That Smile!
By age 7, most kids’ jaws have grown enough to allow an orthodontist to know if braces or other orthodontic adjustment may be needed. That’s why many parents take advantage of our free orthodontic consultation available at all of our locations.
This is also the age where many kids are getting into organized sports and other activities. Mouth Guards are not only the best way to protect growing teeth and jaw, but also help reduce the risk of concussion, as well.
Ages 7-12 is also when kids really start to exercise their independence and developing their own sense of style and identity. Their bodies start to grow up, and the need to both be different AND fit in becomes very important. If your child needs braces but may not be exactly thrilled to have them, click here for a few tips to help get them on board.
Most kids are brushing their teeth and flossing on their own just fine by now, but it’s still important to make sure your child’s habits are strong and consistent. Regular checks on brushing habits are still a good idea, as your child is growing in many of their permanent teeth. Many parents choose to have dental sealants placed on permanent teeth during regular check-up visits to help prevent cavities. If your child complains of tooth or jaw pain, it’s important to bring them for a visit with the dentist.
Ages 13-18: Teenagers – Enough Said.
Teenagers. In one moment we’re wondering when time stole our babies from us and brought these wonderful young adults. In the next moment we are wondering if aliens may have taken our sweet kids and replaced them with these unpredictable, moody creatures!
Growing up and preparing for a future as an adult can be very hard. So can getting out of bed and getting to school on time. It is not uncommon for kids in this age range to want to sleep in, and may skip certain morning routines in order to get out the door on time, including eating a healthy breakfast and the morning dental hygiene routine (especially flossing).
Many teens are also busy with sports, clubs, and other after-school activities. It may be helpful to have floss picks and travel toothbrush kits on hand for your kid to throw in their bag for the ride to school, to make it as easy as possible to keep a healthy routine, even if they are on the go. If your teen uses a mouthguard for sports activities, click here for a few tips for keeping it in good shape.
If your teen has or needs braces, it’s important to know that extra steps are required to keep teeth and orthodontic appliances clean and smiles healthy during and after treatment. The gorgeous, healthy smile your teeth will have can last them a lifetime, so a little extra care is definitely worth it!
Kids may sometimes feel an achy-discomfort a few hours after a braces adjustment. Some parents like to bring their kids for their regular adjustment appointments right after school, so they can rest at home after, instead of worrying about being distracted during the school day.
Healthy Smiles For All Ages Start With A Regular Check-Up.
Regular dental check-ups are an essential part of great dental health, no matter what your age. Now is a perfect time to bring your child in for their regular dental check-up and cleaning. Now through September 30 is an even better reason to bring your child for a check-up!
We’ve Extended Our St. Jude Donation Program
for Kid’s Dental Check-Ups!
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. We are extending our campaign to donate $50,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through September 30! So far we are 66% (two-thirds) of the way towards our goal, having raised $33,500. We’re donating $10 on behalf of every child who completes a regular dental check-up and cleaning at any 1st Family Dental location.