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Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
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Oral Health Test for Back to School 101

Aug 05, 2014

By Dean George

The Fourth of July was a month ago and Labor Day is still a month away. If I understand the No Child Left Behind for a Full Summer program that means its Back to School time!

Seems like if they start the school year any earlier the day after Memorial Day will mark the first day of fall classes, and the Easter Bunny can hitch a ride on Santa’s sleigh to deliver eggs and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

oral health rules

Anyway, at the beginning of every school year kids are quizzed to see how much information they retained from their studies the year before.  Unfortunately, kids often take the summer off from good oral health habits, too. Summertime often means more free time to drink sodas, eat sugary snacks and skip morning brushing after sleeping late.

Now that school is back in session, it’s time to take our seats, crack open our books and get back in the swing of things with a regular oral healthy routine. Here are a few suggestions:

Brush Before You Rush Early mornings are about as popular with school-age kids as paying utility bills are for adults. The freedom to sleep a little later by skipping the morning tooth brushing routine can be pretty tempting. How can I put this kindly? Bad idea, dragon breath!  

Seriously, everyone from the smallest first grader to the biggest movie star should brush at a minimum of twice daily for two minutes each time.

Agent Straight-Talk has written about a number of products that make it fun for kids to brush, including toothbrushes that play popular tunes, and have built-in timers and flashing lights. We've also written about engaging apps like Brush DJ and Brush with Jackson

There are also more kid-friendly flavored toothpastes than Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavors, including such fav flavs as (we’re not making these up) “cupcake,” “bacon,” “chocolate,” “pickle,” “licorice” and for older “kids” who like to multitask – “coffee” flavored.

Rinse, Spit and Repeat Swishing with a fluoride rinse for just one minute a day can leave your breath feeling fresh and augment regular brushing and flossing by coating your teeth and gums with a little extra fluoride protection.

 Like toothpastes, many fluoride rinses are available in a number of popular flavors such as grape, bubble gum, berry blast, fruit punch and mint flavors like fresh mint, peppermint, clean mint and for the proud patriotic rinsers, U.S. Mint. (Okay, I made that last one up but I get royalties if some manufacturer runs with it.)

No Recess for Oral Bacteria As we wrote about last year in this space, school lunches have a history of mystery and are frequently seasoned with gossip, rumor and innuendo. Whether your child undertakes the culinary adventure of a U.S. Department of Agriculture certified hot school lunch or brings one that is personally inspected by the Agency of Mom, nutritionally-balanced meals and snacks are essential to maintain healthy teeth. 

It’s not exactly a Wikileaks-leaked secret that sugar causes cavities, but less well known is the fact that it is not the quantity of sugar we ingest that leads to tooth enamel erosion, but whether how long that sugar clings to teeth. 

Think of it this way - if children brush their teeth before eating a breakfast of sugared cereal, gulp a sports drink after athletic practice and they drink little water or rinse their mouths well until brushing at bedtime, that means the sugar they have eaten during the day has been waging war on their tooth enamel for eight to ten hours! And that, friends, is not good for the pearlies.

Perfect Attendance Means Check-ups Every Six Months Student dental visits every six months should be as much a habit as brushing, mouthwash rinsing and leaving baby teeth for the Tooth Fairy. The earlier kids get into the habit of visiting the dentist, the less stressful it becomes and the more ingrained it is as part of their regular oral health routine.

Also, regular dental visits allow you the time to chat with your child’s dentist about an excellent preventative tool: dental sealants. As we discussed in an earlier post, dental sealants take only a few minutes to apply and cost about 30 percent less than the cost of filling a molar. With insurance or a discount dental plan, that’s as low as $18 to $20 per tooth!

Another oral health must if your child plays sports is a custom-fitted mouth guard, but more on that in a future installment of our Back to School series. Until then, if you don’t have a dental plan or if you just want to see if you can save money on your current coverage, extra credit is available by clicking here for a free quote.

Thanks for reading, and between us, everyone will think you’re really cool if you follow us on  FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

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Copyright 2014, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC© 

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