Would you like to help your child have a healthy start to the new school year? We know you’re already up to your ears in pencils, notebooks, erasers, and all the other back-to-school accessories. However, making sure your child also starts the year with the best health possible is just as important — if not more important. We also know that parents today are busier than ever. We’re sharing three ways to help you get your child health-ready for heading back to school. Ashland Dental is here to be your partner in preparation to help take a little of the burden off your shoulders.
1. Complete Your Illinois “Proof of Dental Examination Form” at Ashland Dental
Parents or guardians in the state of Illinois must submit a proof of dental examination form for children entering kindergarten, second grade, sixth grade, and ninth grade. The form must be completed by a licensed dentist to be considered eligible. These exams occur in the same general time frame as key points of a child’s dental health. In kindergarten, your child will set a baseline health profile. As they grow and develop, your family dentist can help you track your child’s oral health to catch issues before they become challenging and expensive.
Ashland Dental is proud to support parents by completing these exam forms during a routine visit. We are up-to-date on all the requirements for completing your child’s proof of dental examination form, so you won’t have to worry about having to repeat a visit before your child’s next scheduled exam. We love welcoming kids into our practice and we have multiple treatments geared toward helping your child learn about the importance of oral health and good habits like daily brushing and flossing and regular check-ups.
2. Assess Your Child’s Sleep Hygiene
A good night’s sleep is a key part of your child’s growth, development, behavior, and academic performance. However, many children struggle to sleep soundly due to airway issues, poor sleep hygiene, or other underlying issues. The transition from summer freedom to early school days can also make it difficult for children to get good rest. This can make the school year much harder on kids and parents! According to the Sleep Foundation, “Without enough sleep, children and teens can have problems with attention, memory, and problem-solving. Sleep deprivation can also contribute to emotional issues and behavior problems that may affect academic achievement.”
It’s not always easy to detect a sleep disorder, especially in a child. Signs that your child may be struggling with sleep include:
- Sleeping outside of regular nap times or bedtime
- Behavioral issues
- Trouble waking up in the morning
- Trouble paying attention
- Memory issues
- Falling grades
- Uncharacteristic aggression or temper tantrums
- Poor coordination
If your formerly sunny child has become a bit of a grump with no outside factors you can see, they may be struggling with getting a healthy amount of sleep each night. At Ashland Dental, checking in on the sleep health of our patients is part of our commitment to focusing on complete health — that includes children and teens.
We have a system we utilize called HealthyStart. HealthyStart is a soft, comfortable dental device designed to help children with airway issues that can cause sleep disordered breathing, as well as challenges with crooked teeth or an uneven bite. Getting these corrections made early on can save you money and save your child hours in the dental chair or the stress of sleeping with a CPAP machine as an adult. Take this quiz to find out if your child is a candidate for this system.
3. Help Your Younger Kids Get Invested in Oral Health with Dental Health Activities for Preschoolers & Kinders
As you can see from the tips above, oral health is really important for your child. That is why getting them invested early can be really helpful in instilling healthy habits (and defusing potential arguments about brushing and flossing). If you have younger kiddos like kinders and preschoolers, spending time with them on fun dental health activities can get them excited about taking care of their teeth.
- Read children’s books on dental health. New books like Forever Tooth, and Where the Sugar Bugs Live, or old classics like Mercer Mayer’s, Going to the Dentist, help your kids connect with dental health in a way that is age appropriate and supportive of good dental hygiene.
- Buy a new “back-to-school” toothbrush and toothpaste to get them excited about keeping their teeth sparkly clean for the new school year.
- Get your family dentist involved in making visits enjoyable instead of scary. Our team at Ashland Dental works extra hard to give our young patients positive associations with the dentist.
Make it fun!
- Pick out a brushing song. The standard is two minutes, so you can try to find shorter songs that are popular with the kids or you can make a game of picking a new song each day and playing half in the morning and half at night. Pro-tip, you can also pick a longer song and have them brush for the first half and floss for the second. Help them if they’re still getting the hang of it.
- Play these cool teeth games for kids. There’s no better way to get your kid engaged in taking care of their teeth than making it a game. Our personal favorite is the Egg-speriment. It combines science, observation, weird reactions, and hands-on fun. That’s a stellar combination for families with kids just learning about the world.
- Watch videos or movies about teeth and dental health. We know that parents are always trying to minimize screen time, but educational content is really beneficial in the long-term. A video here and there won’t hurt, but it can definitely help!
Getting your child ready for a brand-new school year isn’t easy! We hope that these tips will help you check a few more to-do items off your back-to-school checklist. Remember, Ashland Dental is always here to help. Make your back-to-school check-up appointment today and we’ll get your child off to a healthy start!