Ontario Dental Association Reminds Parents: Healthy Mouths Lead to Healthy Minds

Don’t send your kids back to school without a thorough check-up and these helpful tips

September 2, 2009

Attention: Health, Lifestyle and Education Editors and Reporters

Toronto, ON – Children across the province return to school next week and the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) reminds parents that they should do so with clean, healthy teeth.
“Tooth decay can impact a child’s ability to focus, learn and even attend class,” says ODA President Dr. Ira Kirshen. “The good news is that it is entirely preventable. Parents can help children fight off tooth decay by simply teaching them good oral health habits.”

In a Special Report published last year – Tooth Decay in Ontario’s Children: An Ounce of Prevention – A Pound of Cure – the ODA reported that tooth decay is a rapidly progressing disease and one of the leading causes of absences from school. It not only affects school performance, it impedes a child’s ability to thrive and his or her sense of self-worth.

To emphasize the importance of prevention, the ODA offers the following tips to parents:
  • When shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies, be sure to include some new toothbrushes on your list. A child’s toothbrush should be changed every three months or immediately after an illness

  • To prevent spreading the bacteria that causes tooth decay, do not put anything in your child’s mouth if it has been in yours, such as forks, spoons or soothers.

  • Pack your child’s lunch with nutritious snacks like fruits, vegetables and cheeses which are also good for their teeth. Avoid soft, sticky sweets that get stuck in your child’s teeth or stay in the child’s mouth for a long time, such as raisins, caramels and lollipops.

  • Make sure your child brushes and flosses twice a day. To encourage healthy habits, let your child watch you brush and floss your teeth as often as possible. Children are wonderful imitators, and there's nothing like a parent's example to teach them the way to healthy dental practices

  • Schedule regular exams with your dentist
“There are many things parents can do to build habits that will protect their children’s teeth and lay the foundation for future health,” says Dr. Kirshen. “Make sure your child is ready for school and able to enjoy a full year’s curriculum without being affected by oral health issues.”


For more information

Bonnie Dean
Public Affairs and Communications
Ontario Dental Association
416-922-3900, extension 3305
bdean [at] oda.ca