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Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
Store and its social media channels. He is a regular contributor to Agent Straight Talk, the
only consumer blog explaining the ins, outs and in-betweens of dental insurance and
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Back to School: Reading, Writing and Dental Tips

Aug 21, 2013

When I was a kid the first day of school started the day after Labor Day.  Of course back then school lunches were less than a buck, backpacks were only used for camping and school cafeterias didn’t require a permission slip from the White House to serve apple crisp.

Say what? Ha-ha. My fellow blogger Felicia says I usually don’t digress until halfway down the page. Guess nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

Agent Straight-Talk
Photo source: Music City Dental

Anyway, it’s back to school time and today we thought we’d share some tips on what parents can do to prep their kids for both school photos and a semester worth of smiles.

Four out of five dentists agree that everyone should undergo dental check-ups twice a year (rumor has it the lone dissenting dentist uses Stren® fishing line for floss), so what better time to have your child’s chompers checked than before another busy school year?

As previously reported toothaches and other dental issues can affect classroom concentration and attendance. Talk about needless impediments to making the grade! Also, it’s not unusual of kids’ attention to brushing and flossing to take a vacation of its own during summer break. A back-to-school checkup is helpful in getting them back on track.

During the dental visit don’t forget to ask whether your child may benefit from a dental sealant.  Most of our dental plans cover this procedure for children up to age 16.

Have Brush, Will Travel School lunches have always had an element of “mystery.” (Has anyone seen the campus dog?) Some of that “mystery” may lodge itself between a child’s pearlies during lunch so a quick brush afterwards may be just the thing. Not to mention kids’ indulgence in forbidden munchies like sour candies, gummies or soda that your child may have purchased from their school’s “black market.” Is it a coincidence that travel toothbrushes and mini-toothpaste tubes fit into a pencil bag? I think not. Include a travel toothbrush and paste on your back to school checklist. 

Good Snacks, Good Times Eating healthy is an acquired habit like brushing before bedtime. If you prepare your child’s lunch, pack healthy foods that are good for their oral health.  In May we posted a series on tasty foods that are good for your teeth and overall oral health. Hint: String cheese, fruits and nuts are excellent for teeth and are a good source of calcium, although kids should beware of lunch mates that may have peanut allergies. If your child eats a school lunch, encourage them to drink white milk or water. Chocolate and strawberry milk are often available but never pass the Tooth Fairy’s Good Tooth Test.

Remember, its frequent exposure to sugars, not the amount, which affects susceptibility to cavities. That’s why it’s a good idea to always pack a bottle of water with your child’s lunch. (I’d also say sugar-free gum but I don’t want to be getting calls from principal offices.)  BONUS BENEFIT:  Parents that encourage healthy eating habits at home help kids make better choices at school!

En garde with Mouth Guards If your child plays any kind of sport, whether it is a contact sport like basketball or football or a non-contact sport like gymnastics or tennis, make sure they have a custom-fit mouth guard.  Read here why custom fit mouth guards are preferred by all dentists - except that guy with the diploma from a Cayman Islands online class.

Stay Hydrated but with Care We’ve all heard about the spoonfuls of sugar in sodas, but did you know that sports and energy drinks are even worse for teeth? According to the Dentistry Academy, an estimated 30-50 percent of U.S. teenagers drink energy drinks and as many as 62 percent consume at least one sports drink per day. If your child uses these drinks, encourage them to drink water afterwards or at least rinse their mouths to flush out the acids in those drinks.

Don’t Just Talk, Walk the Walk Seeing parents brush regularly, floss often and visit the dentist twice a year sets the best example for kids to continue great dental habits.

One thing you can do to make dental appointments easier is to have a good dental plan that helps with the cost of check-ups, cleanings, and the occasional filling. Just consider it another back to school building block that may lead to your child making the honor roll, an outstanding high school experience, college – even the White House!

Thanks for reading Agent Straight-Talk, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest in dental tips and trends.  Our readers have been known to make their dentists smile at their office visits!

News Source: Just Kids Dental

Copyright 2013 Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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