Education begins at home. So make it a priority to get your child's teeth fit before returning to school with great dental hygiene practices.
According to the Australian Dental Association, establishing and maintaining a good diet and oral hygiene practices during childhood are essentials if individuals want to enjoy good oral health throughout life. That's why it's important to instil good dental habits in your children from a young age. And the best time to do this is before they return to school.
1. Make dental visits a habit
Bi-annual dental assessments at your local dentist are recommended every six months; more frequently if your child is experiencing problems with their teeth. Dental assessments are opportunities for dentists to examine your child's teeth and mouth. Along with a professional clean, they're looking to prevent any problems from occurring. The earlier you start your child's routine of visiting the dentist, the greater the chances they will continue the habit as an adult. Having a dental assessment before returning to school can give you peace of mind knowing that your child's teeth are fit for school.
2. Develop a dental routine
Flossing and brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-based toothbrush is necessary for fighting periodontal disease. Though most children skip this in their rush getting ready for school. Ensure that your child commits to this regime under your supervision. You can make this a fun daily task by allowing your child to choose a toothbrush – whether it's of their favourite cartoon character or colour.
3. Reward good dental habits
Giving your child an incentive whenever they do something that contributes to great dental health will make it easier for them to maintain oral hygiene throughout life. Rewarding them whenever they choose to pack a banana in their school lunch box instead of a chocolate bar is one example.
4. Teeth cleaning methods at school
Although ideal, it's unlikely that your child will brush their teeth after each meal at school. Instead, you can encourage your child to rinse their mouth out by taking a quick trip to a water fountain.
5. Pre-purchase a mouthguard
Sport classes are an essential part of school. It's important that your child wears a mouthguard when playing sports in order to protect their teeth from injuries that may damage teeth. Customised mouthguards are available at your local dentist, so buy one now so your child is ready to return to school and play sport safely.
 Policies and Guidelines: Children, Australian Dental Association, ADA Council of Scientific Affairs, 2010, 29 Aug. 2011 LINK .