This blog episode is brought to you by the chorus of children everywhere screaming, “Nnnooooooo, I don’t want to go back to school!” Just kidding of course, I’m sure your little ones are anxiously waiting at the door, backpack packed, nutritious lunch included, looking forward to the chance to board the school bus or begin their walk to school. No? Well, whether you have a child happy to go off to school or one whose fingers you need to pry off the door handle, today we’re talking back to school tips for clean and healthy teeth – all school year long.
First and foremost, resist the urge to pack your child a “treat” every day as some kind of “reward” for going to school. It sets a bad precedent and of course, it’s not all that great for the teeth! Look for nutritious snacks and lunches instead that will help with energy, brain function and concentration! Great edible eats include:
- Fruit and/or veggies. Add some fun and drama by sending along a delicious dip that will encourage even the pickiest of eaters to munch, munch, munch. Hummus or yogurt dips are good for you and if you chop up the fruit, it ensures a bite sized, dippable portion, that is much easier to eat.
- Homemade trail mix with pretzels, goldfish type crackers, cheerios, raisins and shredded cereals you can toast with your own blend of sweet (cinnamon) or salty (paprika, BBQ spices, chili pepper) spices to make them fun and flavourful. Throw in just a sprinkling of some chocolate chips so there is a bit of surprise sweetness and your little ones are guaranteed to gobble it up. Side note: you can make a week’s worth of this trail mix in advance and store it in an airtight container.
- If bread isn’t big on your little ones list make ham and cheese roll ups instead and just leave out the bread product. Or, try something different like green coloured wraps. (Just don’t tell the kids the green is from spinach – the main ingredient!) Or, take a cookie cutter to your sandwiches and make them fun star, circle or heck, even unicorn shaped. That adds an element of fun to any lunchbox.
- Granola and/or granola bars. Homemade varieties of either of these snacks will have far less sugar and can be a healthy option at snack time. Just make sure to adhere to the peanut/tree nut free rules at all elementary schools.
- Homemade soups and homemade muffins. I know, I know – don’t roll your eyes! This could be a weekend project for you and your child. Make some yummy homemade soup full of healthy ingredients and your child might be more interested in eating something they have helped make. Again, you can make ahead and store extra. As for muffins – maybe do this one after bedtime and substitute sugar from the recipe for applesauce or finely mince or chop healthy veggies like zucchini or carrots into the muffins. If you do a good enough job – they’ll never know what their eating is good for them!
- Water, water, water. This should always be the drink of choice as much as possible. Particularly from a Dentists perspective, water helps to rinse out the mouth of any leftover food, (raisins can be particularly sticky) and helps prevent the build up of harmful bacteria.
Any good Dentist “worth his salt” is also going to encourage you to send along a toothbrush and toothpaste to school and ask you to remind your child to brush their teeth after eating. We know it’s not always possible but perhaps the idea of a new, smaller sized portable toothbrush, and their very own travel sized toothpaste, might generate an interest in brushing. Store in an airtight container your child can decorate with stickers or craft jewels/flowers you can get from any dollar type store. For the middle or later elementary school aged kids in your life who are wearing braces this is really a “must” thing to do. If you skipped a visit to the Dentist in the summer because you were just to busy swimming, playing sports or enjoying camping or cottage life, then back to school is also a great time to establish a new routine and get back on schedule. Call our family friendly team at Brinkley Dental Offices in Brampton and book your “Back to School Brush Up” dental visit today. In the meantime, as always, thanks for reading and remember: “don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”