The Journal of Public Health reported that toothaches and dental pain cause students to miss between 58 to 80 hours of school. This statistic applies to students between the ages of 5 and 17. This is why maintaining your child’s oral health is important. The best way to avoid this problem is to make sure your child receives the proper dental care.

Here are some tips for helping your child maintain healthy teeth and gums.

1. Show Your Child How to Brush, Floss, and Rinse

Helping your child develop good oral hygiene is a gift. Teach them the proper way to brush, floss, and use mouthwash. They should do this at least twice daily. It might help to download a mobile app or program to motivate the child to brush. And if possible, set a timer for three minutes to make sure the child brushes long enough. As for flossing, floss in front of the child so they can see how it’s done. You can then guide their hands to help them floss their own teeth. Monitor the child until you think they’re responsible enough to follow the steps on their own.

2. Less Candy and Sweets

Sweet and sticky candies harm a child’s teeth. First, the candy increases the amount of harmful acids in the child’s mouth. Second, it takes at least 20 minutes for those acids to get neutralized by the child’s saliva. Your child can eat candy in moderation, but healthy desserts and snacks are a better option for daily consumption.

Encourage your child to try various fruits. Sweet fruit is a better snack than a piece of candy. But if they must have candy, let them eat it after a meal. The food they’ve eaten will provide a slight barrier against the sugar. Just make sure they brush and floss afterward to get their teeth nice and clean.

3. Schedule a Yearly Dental Checkup

Make a yearly dental checkup part of your child’s back to school activities. That way you’ll always remember to make the appointment. A simple checkup won’t take much of your time. The dentist will check for cavities, decay, and discolored teeth. The dentist will also check to make sure your child’s jaw and tooth growth are proceeding properly. You can also request a cleaning and polishing for your child’s teeth.

4. Check Your Child’s Teeth at Home

Check your child’s teeth for stains, plaque buildup, and discoloration at home. This will allow you to spot potential problems in between yearly checkups. If you notice anything alarming, such as red or swollen gums, make an appointment with your child’s dentist.

5. Learn About Sealants and Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride strengthens teeth, prevents cavities and tooth decay. This is why it is often added to city water systems and toothpaste. But if you use well water, it’s possible your child isn’t getting the fluoride they need. Talk to your child’s dentist about fluoride treatments and sealants, both of which help strengthen your child’s teeth.

6. Plan for Dental Emergencies

It’s normal for a tooth to get knocked out, cracked, or damaged during physical activity or a fall. When a tooth is knocked out of the mouth, pick it up without touching its root, the bottom part. It’s important to keep the tooth moist. After gently rinsing the tooth off, temporarily place the tooth back into its socket or between the child’s gum and cheek. If that’s not possible, place the tooth in a glass of milk. After the tooth is secure, get the child to the dentist as soon as possible.

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