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Planning Your Back-To-School Oral Care Kits

Back-to-school season is a time for fresh starts and new routines—and your child’s oral care can be overlooked amid the flurry of shopping, haircuts, new schedules and the new season. Whether they’re starting the first grade or the eighth grade, by putting together simple oral care kits for your children, you can rest assured knowing they’ll walk into their classroom wearing the most important back-to-school accessory of all: a bright, healthy smile.

The types of oral care kits differ for each age group—explore what different age groups might be experiencing in their oral health journey and what to include in their oral hygiene kit.

Planning Your Back-To-School Oral Care Kits

A new school year means a new routine. Getting into good oral care habits can set your family up for long-term success.

While the weeks leading up to a new school year can feel like a never-ending to-do list, know that your child's health is the most critical component of starting this new academic calendar. Being prepared for a healthy oral care routine is essential to kick things off strong. By taking the time to schedule their back-to-school dental checkup one month before they start, stocking up on new oral hygiene products, and refreshing their go-to lunches and snacks, your child can head into the new year not only with an organized backpack but with a bright, healthy smile!

Ages 5 to 8

At this age, your child may not have their oral health regimen down quite yet, but don’t panic; that’s normal! A simple solution is to implement fun reminders or games to help remind them to brush, which can be a great way to keep their dental health in check. The American Dental Association recommends brushing to a 2-minute song or rewarding them for brushing by letting them pick a bedtime story. A sticker chart can also be a fun way to keep track.

Their oral care kit should include:

  • A brand-new toothbrush—and give them free rein to choose! If they like the toothbrush, they’ll be more likely to use it. Additionally, change toothbrushes with each quarter or season. It’s an easy way to remember when to toss an old toothbrush.
  • Mild toothpaste that contains fluoride. Feel free to let them choose a fun flavor.
  • Flavored floss or floss holders.

Ages 8 to 12

Preteens are at a new stage in life, and their teeth may be entering a new stage as well: this is an excellent time to start thinking about visiting the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children have their first checkup with an orthodontist at the age of seven. When you set up their back-to-school dental appointment, ask their dental professional for a referral to an orthodontist if you have concerns about their teeth or bite alignment.

When it comes to a dental care kit, adding dental supplies to their gym bag (along with shower gel and deodorant) can remind them to stay on top of their oral health during the day. Lastly, they can start using an electric toothbrush at this age, which might be a fun incentive to brush more often.

Their oral care kit should include:

  • A battery-powered toothbrush (there are great colors available) for home, and a portable, soft-bristle toothpaste for their gym bag.
  • A fluoride toothpaste of their choice, as letting them pick a favorite flavor can promote regular usage.
  • Flavored floss or floss holders.
  • A small travel pouch to hold their dental hygiene supplies.

Ages 12 to 18

Teenagers are under a lot of stress. If your teenager struggles with daily care, don’t panic—they’ll come around, and there are ways to make oral hygiene a regular part of their routine. One solution is setting a reminder or daily on their phone. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, adolescence can be a peak time for dental cavities, so be sure to communicate that keeping on top of their oral health could lead to cavity-free dentist visits. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste, having a fluoride treatment at a professional dental hygiene appointment, conducting great oral care at home, and eating a nutritious diet are positive ways your teenager can have a healthier mouth.

Their oral care kit should include:

  • A portable, manual toothbrush – Perfect for gym bags, look for one with a tongue cleaner to remove bacteria and food debris from the tongue for fresher breath.
  • An electric toothbrush – Tech-savvy teens might like a more sophisticated, battery-powered toothbrush. Many models offer different cleaning settings and connect to apps via Bluetooth to report real-time feedback on brushing habits.
  • Travel mouthwash – This helps streamline the morning routine and gives your kids a way to freshen up their mouths during the day.
  • A fluoride toothpaste of their choice.
  • Flavored floss or floss holders.

The back-to-school season is an exciting time for both parents and children. No matter what age your child is, putting together a dedicated oral care kit can add to the excitement of this fresh start, and help maintain bright, healthy smiles.

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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