Back to School 2013: Dental Checklist for Parents and Children to Stay Healthy

Every once in a while I find great tips from the ODA.

I found this great checklist for parents to check off before their kids head back to school.

ODA offers caregivers a back-to-school dental checklist

Book a dental exam, stock up on toothbrushes and other tips from the Ontario Dental Association

TORONTO, Aug. 7, 2013 /CNW/ – Much to the chagrin of children everywhere, the new school year is just a month away. The Ontario Dental Association (ODA) suggests parents take advantage of these last few weeks of summer vacation to ensure their kids return to school with an A-plus in dental health.

“Now is the perfect time to get the whole family in for a dental examination before the school year begins and schedules fill up,” says ODA President Dr. Rick Caldwell. “Children go through growth spurts, including their mouths and jaws, so ask your dentist about appropriate toothbrush and brushing techniques.”

A dental exam can also uncover problems that might go undetected. “Your child may be feeling well, but tooth decay often doesn’t present symptoms in the early stages,” warns Dr. Caldwell.

It has been reported that tooth decay is one of the leading causes of absences from school. In its Report on the Findings of the Oral Health Component of the Canadian Health Measures Survey 2007-2009, Health Canada found that in the space of one year, 45.7 percent of children six– to 11-years-old reported time lost from normal or school activities due to oral health problems.

“The pain and discomfort of tooth decay can impact a child’s self-esteem, along with their ability to focus and learn,” says Dr. Caldwell. “The good news is that it can be preventable; parents can help their children by teaching them good oral health habits.”

To emphasize the importance of prevention, the ODA has a back-to-school checklist for parents.

  • Schedule regular dental exams with your dentist for the year.
  • When shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies, be sure to include new toothbrushes on your list. A child’s toothbrush should be changed every three months or immediately after an illness.
  • Make sure your child brushes at least twice a day and flosses daily. To encourage healthy habits, let your child watch you brush and floss your teeth as often as possible. Children are wonderful imitators, and there’s nothing like a parent’s example to teach them healthy dental practices.
  • Prepare a healthy and nutritious shopping list for your child’s lunch, including fruits, vegetables and cheeses for snacks. Avoid soft, sticky sweets that get stuck in your child’s teeth or stay in the child’s mouth for a long time, such as raisins, caramels and lollipops.
  • Educate your kids on the importance of oral health. Visit the ODA’s Kids’ Zone at www.youroralhealth.ca, our interactive, digital playground that helps encourage proper oral health habits.

“Healthy habits learned at a young age are the building blocks to a lifetime of good oral and overall health,” says Dr. Caldwell. “Help your kids get an A+ in oral health!”

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