It seems like summer just started but before you know it, kids in Corvallis will be heading back to school. Everyone will be getting up early again and settling into new routines – what better time to start (or hopefully reinforce) good dental health habits for your whole family!

In this month’s post, we share our best back-to-school dental health tips for parents and kids.

Schedule back-to-school checkups and exams

If it’s time for your kids’ next checkup and exam, schedule one before school starts. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress, hustle, and bustle of going back to school and miss an important checkup. The last few weeks of summer are the perfect time to schedule an exam.

As a parent, do your part and set a good example by scheduling your own checkup and exam, too.

Start (or reinforce) good at-home dental health habits

Good habits take work and commitment. When school starts, you and your kids will be working to:

  • Manage your schedules
  • Stay on top of homework and school projects
  • Make time for friends, family, sports, and other fun activities

One of the best ways to help kids build big and life-changing habits is to start with smaller, more manageable habits. Creating a dental health routine (and sticking to it) is a great place to start. In less than 5 minutes a day, you and your whole family can make a lifelong commitment to dental health. Here’s what to do:

  • Brush and floss every morning and evening. Ask your dentist for tips on how to brush and floss properly.
  • Invest in electric toothbrushes. Not only do they work great, but they’re fun to use and many include a built-in timer. Older kids may like bluetooth toothbrushes that connect with apps on their phones or tablets.
  • Reward younger kids when they brush and floss every day for a week. Just don’t use rewards that are bad for teeth, like candy or soda pop. Better ideas are experiences like a trip to the park, watching a favorite movie, or a bit of extra screen time.
  • Don’t let yourself be caught without floss, toothpaste, or brushes. Stock up and make sure you always have the supplies you need.

Plan healthy meals and snacks

There is no better investment you can make in your health and the health of your family than focusing on healthy meals and snacks. When it comes to dental health, emphasize foods that are:

  • Low in acidity – Avoid soda completely and enjoy fruit juice as a special treat, not something you drink everyday.
  • Low in sugar – Limit candy and other sweets. This includes raisins and other dried fruits that are high in sugar and not as healthy as they seem.
  • High in fiber – Make in-season fruits, fresh veggies, and whole grains a staple in your diet.

In combination, these foods will reduce your risk of cavities and other health problems, increase your energy, and help you and your kids feel great.

Invest in a sports mouthguard

It’s great to see kids being active and playing sports. But dental injuries are surprisingly common, especially when kids play contact sports like football. Here at Timberhill Dental, we’ve hosted Mouthguard Day to outfit local football players with sports mouthguards to protect their teeth. However, sports like basketball, baseball, and even soccer can lead to chipped, broken, and damaged teeth, too.

Don’t let worries about accidents and injuries stop your kids from playing sports. They’re a great way to develop important life skills and one of the best ways for kids to stay active and have fun!

Help your teens take responsibility for their dental health

As kids enter their teenage years, they’ll become more independent, starting to drive, date, and work. You can help your teenager by empowering them to take responsibility for their dental health. Let them manage their brushing and flossing schedule, shop for toothpaste and floss, and make their own dental appointments.

Dr. Black says…

“I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a huge deterioration in dental health once young adults leave home for college. Frequent snacking and readily available and easily consumed junk food becomes the norm – especially during late night study sessions. The first or second visit to the dentist after leaving home can result in some unwelcome surprises in terms of dental health.”

Get more sleep!

Sleep is an important and essential part of a child’s health and development. During sleep our bodies recover from the stress of the day. Without sleep, we simply can’t be healthy. Recent research shows that kids who don’t get enough sleep have problems paying attention and making friends, among other issues.

So how much sleep do kids need?

  • Toddlers – 12-14 hours, including naps
  • Elementary aged kids- 10 hours per day, including naps
  • Kids in middle school or high school – 8-9 hours a day

Help your kids get high-quality, restful sleep by limiting screen time after dinner, avoiding caffeine, and minimizing late-night study sessions. This is good advice for parents, too.

Visit Timberhill Dental for our annual Dollar$ Not Decay event on Nov. 1st!

Dr. Black and Dr. Means are known as the Candy Dentists in Corvallis. On November 1, 2018, they will be hosting our 17th annual Dollar$ Not Decay event. We’ll pay $2 for every pound of candy your kids bring us and we’ll make a matching donation to a great local non-profit organization, too. Plus, everyone who stops by gets a free toothbrush!

At Timberhill Dental, we believe Halloween should be a fun event, but not at the expense of your kid’s dental health. So help your kids make a little extra spending money and protect their teeth and gums at the same time.

We hope to see you there!

Have questions? Give us a call at (541) 754-0144.