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3 back-to-school tips for great dental health

It’s the start of a new school year, and your kids are all set with brand-new clothes and a fresh set of school supplies. But don’t forget about your kids' teeth!

Your kids’ oral health is important to their academic success. Add these dental health tips to your back-to-school checklist to help your kids have a fantastic school year.

1. Take your kids to the dentist

Start the school year right with a dental cleaning and exam. Ask your child’s dentist about sealants and fluoride treatments to prevent decay. These treatments are easy ways to stop cavities before they start. And they can even help improve your child’s performance at school.

Children with good oral health were more likely to do well at school, according to a 2019 study in The Journal of Pediatrics. And children with poor oral health were 90% more likely to miss more than six days of school compared to their good oral health counterparts, according to the study.

2. Pick the right snacks

Swap out lunchbox no-no’s with healthy alternatives. Instead of chips or crackers, try nuts. Salty snacks like pretzels or corn chips may seem healthy because they don’t contain sugar, but simple starches can be just as bad as sugar. These snacks break down into a sticky goo, coating teeth and promoting decay. Avoid candies and granola bars. Offer crunchy snacks like celery sticks, baby carrots and cubes of cheddar cheese instead.

3. Make brushing and flossing fun

Kids need to brush twice a day for two minutes at a time to keep their mouths healthy. They should also floss every day, preferably after dinner. Try these tricks to make oral hygiene more fun:

  • Use a sticker calendar. Let your kids place stickers on each day to represent brushing and flossing.
  • Play music. Collect your kids’ favorite two-minute songs and make sure they brush the whole time.
  • Personalize. Help your child pick a themed toothbrush in his or her favorite color.
  • Provide a kid-friendly floss holder. These Y-shaped devices make flossing more comfortable.

Last updated December 21, 2021

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.