Whether you’re eagerly waiting for or dreading the day, parents of young children know that the school year is right around the corner. As a parent, you’re probably busy ticking several items off your ever-growing to-do list: buying all the latest back-to-school trends, hunting down the perfect school supplies, and wrestling your kids back onto their school-year schedules. With summer coming to an end, so is your ability to keep a close watch on the choices your little ones (or maybe, not-so-little ones anymore) are making. As a parent, of course you want what’s best for your child, including making sure they make healthy choices. One of the critical ways in which you can still have some influence when they return to school is through their lunches. With childhood obesity running rampant in our country, it’s important to consider how they are fueling their bodies. Additionally, we would like to urge you to consider their oral health too. Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent diseases in our children, and prevention is key. Science Daily recently published an article with the following suggestions on how you can promote healthy dental habits in children.
- Eat healthy foods at home. While this is a no brainer when it comes to helping your child grow physically strong, did you know it will also improve their oral health? By serving healthy choices at home, your child is more likely to eat better foods at school.
- Pack fruits and dairy in lunches. Natural food choices usually have less sugar than their processed counterparts, making them a better choice for your child. Fruit satisfies cravings for sweets while giving your child the proper nutrients they need. Milk not only helps bones grow stronger, but they also help teeth stay healthier too.
- Avoid sticky, sugary foods. As a general rule of thumb, sticky foods with added sugar potentially promote cavities. They often adhere to teeth and can damage enamel and cause decay. Try to opt for “no sugar added” foods, even in prepackaged snacks.
- Take an active role in your child’s dental care. If your child is under the age of 8, it is recommended that you still do the brushing for them. And kids who are older will benefit from your participation too. Kids like to imitate, so brushing and flossing together is a great way to not only make sure they’re doing it correctly, but to encourage them to do it more often.
The beginning of the school year is also a great time of year to visit the dentist for a bi-annual visit, especially if it’s been awhile since the last appointment. Healthy dental habits are established at a young age and often start at home. A good dental hygiene routine of brushing for two minutes, twice a day along with regular flossing and visits to the dentist goes a long way in preventing oral disease. Help your child start this new year off on the right foot, and teach them the importance of their oral health.