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A group of children sitting on the floor, Back to School Dental Tips

A Healthy Smile for a Successful Year

Now that summer vacation has ended, it’s time for parents and children to gear up for the new school year. Amidst the hustle and bustle of getting school supplies and organizing schedules, dental health often gets overlooked. A healthy smile not only boosts confidence but also contributes to overall well-being. Embrace Family Smiles provides essential back-to-school dental tips to ensure your child starts the year with a radiant smile and maintains it throughout the academic journey.

# 1 Back to School Dental Tip:  Schedule Your Child for a Dental Checkup

Not only do untreated cavities cause pain and infections, but they can also lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning.   According to the CDC:

Cavities are the most common chronic disease of childhood in the United States. Here are some eye-opening statistics:

  • More than half of children aged 6 to 8 have had a cavity in at least one of their baby (primary) teeth.
  • Over half of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have had a cavity in at least one of their permanent teeth.

To start the school year on the right foot, schedule a dental checkup for your child. A professional cleaning and examination can catch potential issues early on, preventing them from escalating into more significant problems. Plus, a clean and healthy mouth promotes better concentration and focus in the classroom.

2. Establish a Morning Routine:

When children go back to school, mornings can be chaotic. Carving out time for oral hygiene is crucial. Please encourage your child to brush their teeth using fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes before they go to school. Incorporate this into their morning routine, along with washing their face and getting dressed. Consistency is key! And of course, ensure they brush at nighttime too!

3. Pack Healthy Lunches:

If your child takes their lunch to school, you can ensure they get a healthy meal. When packing school lunches, opt for teeth-friendly options. Include crunchy fruits like apples and carrots that naturally clean teeth as they chew. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks that can contribute to cavities. Instead, offer sugar-free flavored water as the beverage to keep your child hydrated and minimize the impact of sugars on their teeth.

4. Limit Sugary Snacking:

Kids usually come home from school hungry. So, after-school snacks are inevitable but try to limit sugary options. If your child does indulge now and then, encourage them to brush their teeth afterward or at least rinse their mouth with water to minimize the sugar’s effects on their teeth.

5. Choose the Right Backpack

Believe it or not, your child’s choice of backpack can impact their dental health. Heavy backpacks can strain neck and shoulder muscles, leading to poor posture. Proper posture is essential for jaw alignment and can prevent jaw pain and dental issues. Ensure your child wears their backpack correctly, and consider a backpack with padded shoulder straps.

6. Protect Children’s Teeth During Sports

If your child is involved in sports, ensure they wear a mouthguard, especially during contact sports (football, soccer, baseball, wrestling). A well-fitting mouthguard can protect teeth from impact and prevent dental injuries.

7. Encourage Hydration

A child drinking from a bottle

Drinking water throughout the day not only supports overall health but also helps maintain oral hygiene. Water helps wash away food particles and bacteria that can lead to cavities and bad breath.

However, as a parent, you may already know that Virginia has scored poorly on removing lead from school drinking water. If not, you can read about it from Environment Virginia in their article:  Virginia Scores a D on Lead in School Drinking Water Report. This article also provides actions you can take to improve the situation.  You can also check with your child’s school district, as some districts, such as Fairfax, have been taking action to minimize lead in their school’s drinking water. If you want to play it safe, we recommend providing your child with a water bottle to take to school. Another solution is the Berkey Sports Bottle. It’s a bit pricey but it is lightweight and comes with a small purifier inside it. Its filter element removes up to 99% of element contamination, such as aluminum, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, and other dangerous heavy metals. With its own filtration system built in, your child can refill their bottle as much as they need while they are at school. These Sports Bottles can be purchased direct from Berkey, Amazon, Walmart, etc.

8. Be Mindful of Teeth Grinding:

School-related stress can sometimes lead to teeth grinding, known as bruxism. If you notice signs like your child complaining of headaches, jaw pain, or you see worn-down teeth, schedule an appointment with us for a consultation. We may recommend a nightguard to protect your child’s teeth from the effects of grinding.

9. Set a Positive Example

Children learn best through imitation. By demonstrating good oral hygiene habits, you’re setting a positive example for them to follow. Even better, brush and floss together as a family to make oral care a fun and shared experience.

10. Stay Consistent

As the school year progresses, don’t let busy schedules deter you from maintaining a solid oral care routine in your family. Consistency is critical to ensuring your child’s dental health remains a priority throughout the year.


A successful school year goes hand-in-hand with a healthy smile. Following these back-to-school dental tips from Embrace Family Smiles gives your child the tools they need to maintain excellent oral hygiene, focus better at school, and enjoy the year ahead with a radiant smile. Remember, a little effort now can lead to a lifetime of confident smiles and overall well-being. Please contact us to schedule your child’s next dental checkup.

Wishing parents and children the best school year!

Your Friendly Team
Embrace Family Smiles