Back to school with a healthy smile is always a good start
Start school off right this year, with a healthy smile! Tooth decay leads to around 19,000 children in Canada being put under general anesthetic in Canada.
This does not include the many hours that are missed from school and spent in emergency rooms. In most cases, tooth decay is preventable!
Taking your children to the dentist is important! The Canadian Dental Association recommends that children should have their first visit to the dentist by age or one year - or six months after their first tooth erupts.
“Start School Smiling” is a program being offered to Grade 1 students from September 15 to October 31 2018. This campaign is a joint effort between the Alberta Dental Association and College, and your dentist that is designed to promote overall oral health. Dentists can volunteer to offer a free dental check-up and X-rays to any Grade one students. Call your dentist to see if they are participating and to book your appointment. For more information visit www.dentalhealthalberta.ca/index/Pages/home
Alberta Health Services will again be offering the “Fluoride Varnish and Sealant Program” in select schools and we encourage everyone in kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2 to sign up for the Oral Health Program. Watch for the Alberta Health Services Oral Health Program consent form(s) from your child’s school. The Start School Smiling programs and the Alberta Health Services Programs are unique and do not replace each other.
Say yes to healthy snacks! Packing snacks and lunches can be tricky. Avoiding sticky and sugary foods like candy, dried fruit and fruit snacks is a great way to protect your child’s teeth. Even simple starches like crackers, pretzels and chips can cause decay as they break down. Crunchy food is the best, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Hard cheese, whole grains and yogurt are also great for teeth! Get into the habit of drinking water for thirst and sending water instead of juice.
Make brushing and flossing a habit! Brushing twice a day is very important, as well as flossing at night. Let your kids pick out a toothbrush and toothpaste that they love. If this is a difficult time for you it is okay to offer bribes and prizes! It is recommended that when brushing the teeth of a child ages one to three years, use a rice- sized amount of toothpaste. Children over age three require a pea-sized amount. Invest in an electric toothbrush. They make plaque removal easier for everyone! Before your child has a tooth, be sure to wipe inside their mouths using a clean wash cloth.
Alberta Child Health Benefits is for families with limited income that may not have insurance or money to go to the dentist or other medical providers. For any more questions please visit employment.alberta/hb-policy or call 1-877-4695437. Alberta Health Services also offers a free dental screening and fluoride for eligible children ages 12-35 months. Please call your local health unit with questions or visit www.ahs.ca/oralhealth.