The last few weeks before school starts is the best time for parents to make sure their child is set up for a flying start to the school year. 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 healthy, 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 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
- After the festive season’s treats have gone, it 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 flavored yoghurts
- Plan nutritious lunch-box menus and make shopping lists so you can stock up as school starts.
- Choose wholegrain breads or wraps for sandwiches, carrot, celery and cucumber sticks to dip into hummus or other healthy dips, plus 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
- Book in your child’s dental check while they’re on holidays 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.
Book your child’s checkup online now with your National Dental Care dentist.