It’s that time of year when parents rejoice and kids, well – the kids mostly just sigh. Sure some are excited to meet new friends and find out who the teacher is but most kids actually find the return to school challenging to say the least. The return of routine and structure, things that parents love but kids typically hate can be hard to adjust to after a summer of near constant excitement and activity. Then there’s the challenge of trying to come up with something new and different for snacks and lunches – a challenge that probably frustrates both kids and parents alike! Adding to the “back to school” reminder list is the team at Brinkley – your friendly neighbourhood family Dental office – using September as an excuse to provide families with some great back to school and “back to brushing” tips and tricks!
Buy a Brush and “Pack a Portable”
A toothbrush is a relatively small investment but it pays off with big rewards! Proper brushing, especially after meals and before bed, will pay off huge dividends with fewer costly cavities and/or problematic plaque or periodontal disease. So we recommend you buy two new brushes in September! One for home and another, portable folding brush your child keeps in their tote for use after lunch or snacks. This is particularly important if your child is sporting orthodontia. Don’t forget the travel-sized toothpaste!
Get the kids Involved
Enroll your kids in the process of choosing lunch and snack items. Involving them from the outset in planning meals and snacks is known to encourage better eating habits. Take them grocery shopping with you and actively engage them while slicing and dicing snacks and packing into snack sized containers. (Always using age appropriate tools of course!) For little ones, consider cutting food into shapes to make it more appealing. A little investment of time upfront might make for more food consumption and less waste at the end of the day.
Think Outside of the “box.” (The lunch box that is.)
A thermos makes a great school lunch possible, particularly as we will soon be heading into cooler, fall temperatures. Soups, leftovers, some steamed rice – anything but yet another sandwich – might help encourage your picky eater to pick eating instead! You can even fill a thermos with nutritious and delicious breakfast food like hearty oatmeal. Who says lunch has to be lunch?
Ready, Set, Go!
Set a timer and consider offering rewards to encourage better brushing behaviour. Two minutes is the goal and if your child is competing against a clock they might just brush longer and more vigorously.
Routine, routine and more routine.
Back to school is about establishing a more regular routine in the house. Make sure the alarm in the morning is set early enough to allow time for a proper tooth brushing before you head out the door. With the portable brush packed, hopefully the kids brush at school (did you know in some US schools in the early 20thcentury tooth brushing was taught?) and then don’t forget to implement a new bedtime routine as well. A little earlier than summer bedtime, and include a chance for snacks, reading and calm time before tooth brushing and bed. Review proper brushing techniques with your little ones (see the box to the right) then lights out and sleep tight!
Sure it’s sad to see summer go but we’re betting most of us actually crave the return to life with a little bit more of a routine. Do your part in supporting the kids by taking this opportunity to review your own habits too. You might also want to consider a trip to the Dentist if it’s been a while! Call and book an appointment today. We’ll end as we always do with this gentle reminder, “don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”
- Hold the brush firmly in your hand.
- Use a soft bristle brush for maximum effect.
- Brush the top teeth then the bottom teeth using an up and down motion.
- Some suggest a circular motion but up and down (with the brush at a 45 degree angle toward your gum line works best.)
- Use a pea sized amount of toothpaste.
- Brush for two minutes.
- Rinse well.
- Be gentle and don’t forget behind your teeth and the back of your mouth and molars!