Protecting Your Kids’ Dental Health at Every Age
As a parent, we know your top priority is ensuring your children's health and well-being. While you may already have a good handle on their physical health, it is important...
The last thing you want interrupting your summer fun is a dental emergency. But for adults and children, summer can mean a potential uptick in dental emergencies.
From lax routines to more outdoor activities, there are a wide variety of causes to be on the lookout for. The good news is that with a little knowledge and diligence, you can avoid a lot of common summer dental emergencies.
Here are some frequent dental problems that come up this time of year and how you can decrease your chances of ending up in the dentist’s chair unexpectedly this summer.
The most common cause of a dental emergency is a fall, and a place many slip and fall in the summer is by the pool. Wet patio areas around a pool (or other body of water) can be slippery, and pool toys and outdoor furniture can be a tripping hazard. Deck and patio areas around pools are often hard surfaces, but don’t let the beach or grass fool you; sand and dirt are also hard enough to cause dental injuries.
While the park is a great place to spend your summer days outside, like pools, playgrounds can be a common site for falls and other injuries. Be sure your children are using age-appropriate playground equipment, playing safely, and not roughhousing.
Wearing a mouthguard when playing team sports is crucial to preventing dental injuries. After falls, sports injuries are the next leading cause of dental trauma. Contact sports like football and those using sticks such as field hockey and lacrosse pose obvious dangers. However, consider wearing a mouthguard even for non-contact sports such as basketball and soccer since accidental contact often occurs.
Helmets go a long way in preventing traumatic head and brain injuries, but there is evidence they also help to prevent facial and dental injuries as well. But while helmets may prevent some dental injuries from occurring, most helmets are not designed to lessen the severity of these injuries when they happen. For that reason, when participating in more extreme sports or motorcycle riding, a full-face helmet is recommended.
There are several foods, many popular in summer, that can cause a chipped or cracked tooth. Hard foods such as candies or popcorn can be problematic, as can foods with bones like ribs and wings. Avoid candy and popcorn and remove meat from the bone before enjoying. In addition, sugary foods cause tooth decay, and teeth weakened by decay are more prone to injury.
Even though ice doesn’t cause cavities like sugar, it can crack or chip teeth. Instead of chewing ice or hard candies, enjoy some cold watermelon, berries, apples, or crunchy veggies. These options actually stimulate saliva and cleanse the teeth of acid and debris.
Especially for kids, our normal routines tend to go out the window in the summer months. Sleeping in and later nights can mean rushing through or even forgetting our regular brushing and flossing schedules. Be sure your family members remain diligent about oral hygiene. As we mentioned, teeth weakened by decay are more susceptible to breaking or cracking.
Vacation can be the best part of summer, but it can also be even worse for your family’s routines. Make sure you bring your dental care products with you on your trip and keep up those oral hygiene habits.
Call our office right away if you are experiencing a dental emergency. If you cannot get to the dentist and have a knocked-out tooth, severe pain, persistent bleeding, or swelling, visit the emergency room. And don’t forget to schedule your regular twice-annual visits in order to prevent the need for emergency dental care by keeping your teeth strong and healthy.