For parents around the country, the end of the summer can be one of the most stressful times of the year. It’s a bit of a mad rush to make sure children have the right uniform, enough stationary to last the year and everything else that comes with making sure your kids are ready for the start of a new school year.

Hopefully by this time, you’ve addressed some of those pressing issues, but there’s something very important that you need to be aware of, both now and throughout the school year – helping your children maintain a healthy smile.

Even at a young age, first impressions really do matter and they can be made in a matter of seconds. A bright wide smile can spark a life-long friendship and immediately put others at ease.

Check out our top tips for helping the little ones get a grade A for oral health.

Start early

It is never too early for children to learn about the value of a healthy smile and how to achieve it. As soon as your baby’s teeth come through, you should brush them every day! Take them to see the dentist before their first birthday, then make sure you return regularly, as often as your dental team recommend. Appointments are a great opportunity for you to make sure that everything is developing okay and get advice on how to look after the teeth of your children.

Brushing better

You can do a lot of good for your children by setting a great example for them to mimic. Both you and your little ones should be brushing last thing at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes. It’s best to watch your children until they can be trusted to brush for two minutes correctly unsupervised. Seven years old is usually old enough.

Fluoride is king

There are plenty of different toothpastes for you to choose from on supermarket shelves. Letting your child choose one that they like the taste of is absolutely fine. When it comes to toothpaste, the most important thing is to make sure it contains the right amount of fluoride.

All children up to three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of 1000ppm. After their third birthday, they should use toothpaste that contains 1350ppm-1500ppm.

Tooth-friendly lunchboxes

Make sure you pack your child’s lunchbox with the right things.

Avoid sugary foods and drinks as much as possible. Instead go for breadsticks, raw vegetables and even cheese, which can actually help remove harmful acids that can do damage to teeth.

Be careful when it comes to fruit juice, especially ones from concentrate, smoothies and dried fruit. All the above might seem like a perfectly healthy option but they do contain a lot of sugar. Always check the label to be sure, because even despite a “no added sugar” label, they can still contain a lot of naturally occurring sugars, which can leave your child at an increased risk of tooth decay.

Children shouldn’t have any more than 30g of free sugar each day.

If time permits on a busy school morning, let your kids help you pack their lunch and snacks for school. That way they can get a better idea of what is and isn’t healthy.

Think about the drinks

The only things children should be drinking at school are plain still water or milk.

Neither are acidic, nor do they contain sugar which can both pose a threat to anyone’s teeth.

Make sure you follow these oral health tips and help your children learn lessons about their teeth and oral health that will hopefully stick with them for a lifetime!