5 Smart Ways to Promote Healthy Teeth Habits at School

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Going to the dentist is a big deal, and I’ve been working hard to get my two school-aged children to have a motivation for good oral care habits. Thanks to the American Dental Association for sponsoring this post and inspiring smart new habits.

#AD Going to the dentist is a big deal for us, and we also practice good oral hygiene habits at home. How can you extend those lessons to include school? Here are our 5 ways to promote good oral care at school too!

My daughter, Scarlet, actually lost her first tooth while at school.

It was last year in second grade. She came out of school beaming and holding a white tooth necklace around her neck proudly in front of her face. I was so happy I told anyone I could see, “MY DAUGHTER LOST HER TOOTH!” Then she lost her second tooth at school too. She has yet to lose one here! I think there’s something special about losing your tooth at school. You get to go to the nurse’s office where he or she will put your tooth in the prized tooth necklace. My son, Des, is in kindergarten and it’s already happening to his classmates. He has stories! File that under BIG DEAL life experience for kids.

All of that talk and excitement over losing teeth at school actually made me think. Last year, there was an option for Scarlet to get fluoride rinses at school, and for Des to brush his teeth while at preschool. Why not at least promote some, if not several, good oral care habits at school? We already do what we can at home, but the kids are at school for most of their days. Now that it’s National Children’s Dental Health Month and both of my kids are smack in the middle of losing teeth season, it’s timely to teach them about practicing their oral care habits at school. I love that they get excited like I do.

5 Smart Ways to Promote Healthy Teeth Habits at School in Honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month:

1 – Talk to your child’s teacher or principal about making time for your child or the whole class to brush their teeth after lunch. You can also ask local dentists to donate supplies – like brushes, toothpaste, floss. Last year, one of my son’s classmates’ parents – a dentist – came to school to talk about proper dental care. That really sparked the kids’ minds.

2 – Better juice habits start at home, and continue at school. On a home level, you can refrain from sending soda and sugary drinks in your kids’ school lunches and snacks. Bottled water and milk are better options. Another tip is to see if you can get such drinks removed from school vending machines, if they haven’t already been removed. Have better options.

3 – Pack tooth-healthy lunches and snacks for your child. For us, that includes water, some dairy products, lean proteins, nuts, fruits, and of course, plenty of vegetables. It’s not the same as a toothbrush, but some snacks help!

#AD Going to the dentist is a big deal for us, and we also practice good oral hygiene habits at home. How can you extend those lessons to include school? Here are our 5 ways to promote good oral care at school too!

4 – Make sure your child’s school has up-to-date contact info on record. When we fill out our annual start-of-school paperwork, we always make sure to put all relevant dental information as well. We do this with summer camp too. No matter where our kids are, it gives peace of mind to know that their dental needs will be met when we’re not around them.

5 – Be aware. This is a big one for me because I’m more like hyperaware of every nuance in my kids’ lives, and that includes their mouths! My kids run track and play sports. They have after school classes and time with grandparents. When there’s some sort of inevitable tooth falling out or something bothering them, I need to be in the know and make others aware.

As a bonus tip, if your child wears any kind of dental gear that comes in to school with them, have a plan in action for the care and cleanliness of the gear. I specifically remember the fears I had of throwing away my retainer case with my lunch! Luckily it never happened. I used to have a plan to rinse my retainer and retainer case out in the restroom after lunch. My parents had a lunch monitor friend who knew to help me do this when I was younger. As an older child, I remembered on my own.

The thing is, oral health starts at birth because your baby is born with teeth under their gums. Pretty wild in fact! Even though there are two sets under those gums – baby teeth and permanent teeth – baby teeth are AS important to care for as adult teeth. That’s why it’s so important that healthy teeth habits take place throughout the whole day – and not just with brushing morning and night. I find that the American Dental Association has some great resources for promoting healthy teeth habits at home, and at school. To find out why baby teeth matter, click here. I also loved reading about a child’s first dental visit! For the future, it’s beneficial to read about braces. Healthy habits build. And there’s a joy in helping.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Dental Association.

Get Into The Groove: Back To School Tips That Rock.

The ProNamel® brand has compensated me in connection with statements made in this post.

I think it’s no secret to my blog readers that I struggle with transitions.

I mean, right? I know I’m not alone here. I think you also know that I have had maybe more trouble than many, when Scarlet starting kindergarten in late 2014 nearly knocked me off my feet. That was the same year Des started daycare. Then, in late 2015, I thought it would be smooth sailing. After all, no one was going anywhere new! Scarlet was starting first grade with many friends from her kindergarten class, and Des was starting a second year of daycare. Sounds easy peasy, right? Well, wrong.

In fact, the transition shook me up all over again. I found myself falling behind with paperwork and getting overwhelmed by details. Things like doctor forms, immunizations, school bus forms, school lunch forms, application forms, emergency forms, forms, and more forms. It wasn’t just the details, but it was the emotions involved. I found myself teary-eyed and resistant to change all over again. Luckily, it was easier the second time around, if you can believe that. Now that we’re going for the third time around, I’m more determined to make the transition even smoother. Here’s what I’m doing this time around:

Five Ways To Rock Back To School This Year:

1. Keep your family active. Last summer we began doing family bike rides in the school parking lot every non-rainy evening. Not only did it let off some stress to be together and to be active, but it also made the school parking lot more familiar and safe-feeling to us. Whenever Des came with me to drop Scarlet off, he would say, “This is where we ride bikes!”

2. Tour the school. This is the year we are getting a change. Des is starting a new preschool in September, after two years in daycare. We missed the first open house last winter but will take a chance to meet with the teachers and get familiar with the school, not only before school starts, but before orientation starts. Des is going to the same school Scarlet went to, but he was just a baby then and I don’t know how well he remembers it. Scarlet is starting second grade, which feels BIG.

3. Connect. Scarlet made a very close friend before kindergarten, and that made her first day so much easier. For her, of course. It also helped me to have parents of old babyhood and preschool friends standing in the parking lot with me, going through the transition. School friends can be life-long. It’s powerful for the kids and for the parents. Summer is the time to stay in touch – with play dates and other such ways to build relationships. It’s great finding out the class list before fall.

4. Ease back in. In late summer, you start to think a lot about school. That’s also a great time to start easing into a fall routine, because jumping from summer to fall – without transition – can be rough and stressful. Practice the new school routine within the week before school starts. Set alarm clocks, go through morning rituals, make breakfast, have everyone get dressed, and then get in the car or stand at the bus stop on time. This will help children feel comfortable when it’s go-time.

5. Be prepared with medical/dental/safety information. Now is the time to discuss health and safety – talk about strangers, fire plans, bicycle helmets, food and drink choices, etc.! Fall is the time for paperwork. We do summer well-child exams, because my kids have summer birthdays. It’s about immunization forms, updated medical charts, and more! This is also when we schedule one of the kids’ two annual dental visits and make sure there’s a dental hygiene routine for a new school year.

What we don’t think enough about is that some of the foods that kids eat and love – like oranges, other citrus products, and sports drinks – are quite acidic and can melt away at kids’ tooth enamel. Luckily, we have ProNamel® 6-12 Years Toothpaste for Kids to prevent Acid Erosion during this crucial time in Scarlet’s tooth development. At this time, when kids are losing their primary teeth and growing in secondary teeth, the enamel is particularly soft on the secondary teeth. It takes time for enamel to harden as this grows in. Once enamel erodes, it never grows back. That’s why ProNamel® 6-12 Years Toothpaste for Kids is specially formulated to protect against cavities and everyday acids. Tooth enamel needs to be protected, starting at an early age.

Help protect your child’s teeth for years to come! Coupons are available for ProNamel®, link HERE.

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