It's easy to keep up with your child's oral health habits when he or she is home all day. When you send your child off to school, however, taking good care of the teeth becomes a bit harder. Suddenly, you're not there to make sure your child brushes his or her teeth after lunch, or that sugary snacks are avoided in favor of cheese or nuts. Don't let school sabotage your child's dental care routine – follow these tips for success.
Send your child to school with a toothbrush.
You may be worried about seeming like an over-protective parent, but what's more important: your child's dental health, or your perceptions? Talk to your child's teacher and let him or her know that you'd like your child to brush his or her teeth after lunch. Send the toothbrush in your child's lunch box for convenience. You may even start a new trend in the classroom in which other parents encourage their children to brush after lunch, too!
Pack your child's lunch.
Many schools offer hot lunch programs, but if you want to ensure your child is eating healthy, low-sugar foods, it's better to pack his or her lunch. Include plenty of foods that are healthy for the teeth, such as apples, cheese, raw veggies, and yogurt. Keep citrus fruits to a minimum, since these are high in acid that can actually weaken the tooth enamel.
Talk to your child about the importance of good oral hygiene.
Your child is less likely to over-indulge in sweet treats at school or forget to brush his or her teeth if your child understands the importance of these behaviors. Instead of demanding that your child avoid sweets and brush the teeth "because you said so," explain that these actions keep the teeth healthy. If you will be utilizing the tooth fairy when your child starts losing teeth, saying "the tooth fairy only gives you money for healthy teeth, and these are the things you need to do to keep your teeth healthy" often works.
Set a good example at home.
Set a good example for your child by saying "no" to candy yourself. Also, make sure your child sees you brushing your teeth after every meal. Children mimic adult behavior, and if your child sees you partaking in these behaviors, he or she will be more willing to adopt them, too.
Letting go of control as your child heads off to school is not always easy. However, it is possible to oversee your child's oral health behaviors in school without being present yourself. Follow the tips above, and your little one will have a better chance of keeping his or her teeth healthy.
For more information, check out dentists such as Crest Hill Family Dental.