Roller coasters are great fun! Unexpected twists and turns along with the anticipation during the ascent ending with a sudden drop are all part of the excitement. School age children and teens have been on a figurative roller coaster for the past year. Students have coped with and adjusted to school cancelations, virtual instruction, hybrid instruction, and traditional classroom instruction. This “back to school” roller coaster has been challenging! Instead of excitement, many families could be feeling anxious.

Back-to-school time typically leads to transitions which affect the whole family. There will likely be changes to family and home routines. This spring, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) summary of recent changes could require additional thought and adaptation to help our kids get back on their schedules. Establishing routines clarifies expectations and helps lessen anxiety. It is important to incorporate oral health routines into existing morning, after school, and bedtime regimens.

Maintaining good oral health can be fun! Resources and activities to keep you and your family motivated: 

  • Practice Dr. Justin Whitney’s back to basics oral health tips.
  • Receive maximum benefits from flossing by watching the following proper technique how to floss video from Colgate.
  • Encourage your children to brush two minutes twice a day.
  • Utilize these 7 toothbrushing tunes from the American Dental Association (ADA) kids (and parents) will love.
  • Discourage the mouth monsters with these tips for parents from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
  • Download the ADA 2021 brushing calendar.
  • Watch the ADA how to brush video. 
  • Learn how to get kids excited about oral health with these 5 bite-sized tips.
  • Complete the ADA dental health crossword puzzle English, Spanish-(Español)

Think about how to encourage good oral health habits while at school. 

Does your child have access to water bottle filling stations, water fountains, or is the school providing bottled water? Any kind of water is a healthy drink choice for oral health, but fluoridated tap water provides extra protection for your teeth. Does your child receive lunch from the school cafeteria or bring lunch from home? The eating habits your kids learn today will impact them for the rest of their lives. Teach them the “what,” “when,” and “how” of teeth-healthy snacking to set them up for years of nutritious choices.
Understand how your child’s foods affect their oral health with these child-friendly healthy choice activities:

Schedule routine dental exams.

Many children are back in school, but it won’t be long before summer break begins. Take this time to call your child’s dentist and mark your calendar for upcoming appointments. 

Tips and reminders for scheduling routine dental visits:

  • Check with your child’s school to ensure your kindergarten mandatory dental screening form is on file.
  • Learn why the ADA recommends dental sealants and when they should be placed.
  • Read the Mayo Clinic guidelines for children dental exams. 

Roller coasters consist of many parts working together eventually bringing the bumpy ride to an end. Kentucky Oral Health Coalition will continue to bring its diverse membership together to collaborate and share resources to improve oral health across Kentucky. Prioritizing oral health sets kids up for a healthier, brighter future.


Image provided by Gabriel Valdez Unsplash