Most parents are diligent about promoting kids dental care in the home. We limit candy, write dental appointments on the calendar months in advance and have sticker charts to encourage brushing and flossing. However, most children spend the majority of their waking hours away from Mom and Dad. Here are a few simple ways in which to encourage good dental hygiene while kids are at school.
Pack a Healthy Lunch
Send your child off to school with a lunch filled with foods that help strengthen teeth. The calcium in yogurt and cheese is great for strong teeth. Crunchy foods, such as apples, carrots and celery, help remove plaque. Other fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and vitamins essential for a healthy mouth.
Advocate for Snack Changes
Most schools have vending machines and snack counters available to children during lunch and after school. This means that kids have access to ice cream, candy, chips, soda and other unhealthy foods on a daily basis. Encourage schools to change the snack selection to healthier options, such as string cheese, orange slices, nuts and bottled water. This will benefit the students' overall health and dental health in particular.
Protest Soda and Sugary Drinks
Petition to get soda and sugary drinks removed from school vending machines. In addition to coating teeth with sugar for plaque to feed on, these beverages also cause staining on teeth. Bottled water and milk are great options for a healthy and bright smile.
Who says brushing should only be done at home? Talk with your child's teacher about making time for the whole class to brush their teeth after lunch. Ask local dentists to donate brushes, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash and to speak to the class about proper dental care.
Check the Emergency Contact Information
Make sure that the school has up-to-date contact information on record for your child's dentist just in case a dental emergency arises during the day.
Kids dental care is important no matter where they are. Encouraging them to take care of their teeth while they are away from you will help ensure that your efforts at home are not being negated when the kids are away from you.