For school age children, going to the dentist can be a big adventure.  New sights, smells, and tastes stimulate their senses as they learn to brush and floss their own teeth. They may prefer a blue toothbrush one week and a green one the next.  And, as for toothpaste flavors, remember that the best toothpaste is that one that gets used. Moreover, these visits are an opportunity to instill a lifelong habit of oral hygiene and to ensure their bright smiles continue to shine.

school aged children

Brown Bag Lunch Tips for Healthy Teeth

Packing a healthy lunch for your kids may sound easy, but many foods deemed “healthy” may actually contain carbohydrates and sugars that attack tooth enamel and may eventually lead to decay.  Because most children don’t brush at school, sending them with a healthy school lunch can help maintain good oral health and establish good nutritional habits.

Don’t pack foods that are sticky and/or chewy and stick to the teeth, because saliva is unable to wash away the cavity-causing sugars in these treats. Limit snacks such as raisins, granola bars, peanut butter/oatmeal cookies, lollipops, chewy fruit snacks, taffy, hard candy, etc.

Do pack fruits, vegetables or cheese in your child’s lunchbox.  The best fruit choices are those containing more water, such as: apples, grapes, pears, cantaloupes and other melons.  Any type of aged cheese is a good choice, such as: Swiss, Cheddar or Monterey Jack. Vegetable choices may include raw broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers and celery.

Encourage your children to drink lots of water and limit fruit juice and soda.  Regular flossing and brushing could help them prevent stains from forming on their teeth and bad breath.

How do I choose a toothpaste for my child?

Fluoride is the toothpaste ingredient used to prevent cavities, and nearly every toothpaste contains some.  A “pea-sized” amount of fluoride toothpaste should be used with guidance once teeth have erupted.

The brand or type does not matter.  What does matter is finding a toothpaste that appeals to your child.  If you need specific recommendations, please ask one of our dentists, hygienists, or assistants.


For parents of school-age children, the dental team at Growing Smiles promotes a “1-2-3” approach:

  1. First dental visit by first birthday. This is endorsed by the American Dental Association.
  2. Brush for 2min 2x/day.
  3. The number of people involved in oral health of a child: child, parent, and dentist.
Quick & Helpful Information

Frequently Asked Questions

A sealant is a clear or tooth-colored material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of molars (back teeth). Because back teeth have many depressions and grooves, they are difficult to clean, which makes them prone to cavities. A coating of sealant protects the chewing surfaces and can dramatically reduce the risk of decay.

Patients who get sealants protect their teeth from tooth decay. This preventative measure saves dollars and makes sense by avoiding costly fillings or crowns to fix decayed teeth.

Children should get sealants on their permanent molars (both “6-year” and “12-year” molars) soon after they erupt. Sealants on baby teeth may be recommended, especially if your child’s baby teeth have deep pits and grooves.

VIDEO SHORT: Dr. Bowman explains the first visit

Typically, children should see the dentist every six months for routine check-ups and cleanings. However, the frequency may vary based on your child’s individual needs and risk of dental problems.

It’s important to start dental visits early, ideally by your child’s first birthday. When preparing for a visit, keep it simple and avoid using words that might scare your child. You can play pretend dentist at home to make them comfortable with the process. It’s normal for children to fuss during a visit, so stay calm and let the dentist guide you. Avoid bribing your child to behave at the dentist, instead, praise them for their bravery after the visit. Emphasize the importance of good oral hygiene and make the visit as fun as possible. Remember, the goal is to establish a trusting relationship with the dentist and make your child feel comfortable during future visits. This sets the stage for a lifetime of good oral health.