One of the best tests of how well you have taught your children about their dental health is how they act when they are away from home and you’re not around to guide the way. With back-to-school in full swing, kids are now on their own at school for most of the day. Are they making healthy choices for their teeth? Here’s how to encourage kids’ healthy dental habits while they’re away from home: provide the tools to make good choices, lead by example, and guide them when you can.

Oversee Their Morning & Nighttime Routine

Healthy habits away from home must start at home. Make sure you are taking an active role in their oral hygiene routine, especially while they are young and still learning. Guide them through the steps of properly brushing their teeth each morning and night. Incorporate flossing into their routine daily as well. Brushing twice daily and daily flossing help prevent children’s tooth decay and gum disease.

Pack Healthy School Lunches

Diet plays a major role in the health and wellness of teeth. Sugary and starchy foods lead to tooth decay, while calcium-rich dairy helps strengthen teeth. Promote regular healthy eating by packing healthy school lunches for your children. They will be more likely to make good food choices on their own when they are used to eating a healthy diet.

Eat Well at Home

When children eat healthfully with their families, they practice these healthy diet choices elsewhere, when parents are not around to guide their decisions. Promote your family’s dental health by encouraging everyone to eat a healthy diet at home.

Promote Non-Sugary Treats

Sugary treats, like candy and cupcakes, have become a rewarding treat for many children, but sugar wrecks havoc on their tooth enamel and causes tooth decay. Promote non-sugary treats, and reward your children with alternatives to sugary snacks so they don’t associate pleasure and reward with sweets.