As COVID-19 restrictions start to relax around Australia, federal and state governments announce most students will be returning to school over the course of Term 2. Depending on what state you’re in, your child might be heading back to the classroom for one day a week or for the full 5 days. Either way, it’s time to start thinking about a back to school checklist.
The last week or two before your child heads back to the classroom is the best time to make sure they’re set up for a flying start after the disruptions of COVID-19. Being ready for school is more than just having the right uniforms, stationary and backpack sorted. Whether it’s their first year of school or they’re in high school, you also need to make sure your child is ready to get back to it, and this includes good oral health.
Sadly, almost 40 per cent of children’s preventable hospital admissions involve dental problems. And that doesn’t include all the children who have untreated toothaches and other dental issues distracting them from work, play and restful sleep. By five years of age, up to 40 per cent of children have already had dental decay. Here’s a checklist to make sure your child heads back into the classroom with healthy teeth and the right habits to stay that way.
1 – Oral hygiene tips
- If you haven’t supervised your child’s teeth-brushing routine for a while, it might be time to check that they’re brushing effectively and for two minutes morning and night.
- Flossing is too difficult for younger children to manage, but they will develop the dexterity with practice by the time they’re 10. Check and assist if necessary.
- Check with your National Dental Care dentist for the right size and style of toothbrush for your child and the best toothpaste for their age.
- Replace worn toothbrushes regularly.
2 – Healthy diet ideas for kids
- We can all admit that snacking in isolation has been constant, so now is a good time to clean out the refrigerator and pantry, and restock with healthier choices for the whole family.
- Read labels to see how much hidden sugar is in manufactured foods such as flavoured yoghurts and fruit juices.
- Plan nutritious lunch-box menus and make shopping lists so you can stock up as school starts.
- Choose wholegrain breads or wraps for sandwiches. Cut up carrot, celery and cucumber sticks to dip into hummus or other healthy dips, and give them daily fresh fruit. Freeze plain water in bottles to keep lunches cool.
- Have a healthy after-school snack available each day but avoid snacks being constantly available.
- Make tap water the usual drink.
3 – Dental schedule tips
- With dental restrictions down to level 1, that means you can book in your child’s dental check so you have time to treat any issues before they’re back at school.
- If your child needs any longer-term dental treatment, such as orthodontics, plan it with your National Dental Care dentist around their school program
- Your child may be eligible for up to $1000 worth of dental treatment through the Child Dental Benefit Schedule if you receive certain benefits.
4 – Ensuring they stay safe and healthy at school during COVID-19
- Make sure they take hand sanitiser to school and use it after touching shared items such as keyboards, sports equipment and stationary.
- Talk to your child about social distancing guidelines to make sure they understand what that entails in the classroom and playground.
- Lastly, if your child is vulnerable or you feel uncomfortable sending them back to school at the moment, keep them home schooled for the time being.
If your child is due for their 6 monthly check-up or has an existing dental issue, book their check-up online now with your National Dental Care dentist.