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...
Just about every kid’s favorite season is summer. And what’s not to like? Summer means fresh lemonade, swimming pools, and ice cream trucks galore. Unfortunately, summertime tends to be dangerous for kids’ teeth. Routines are disrupted, meals and snacks might be less healthy, and brushing could be rushed or forgotten altogether. However, there are some simple ways you can help protect your kids’ smiles while still making the most of summer break.
Helping kids keep up their regular routines during the summer is the best way to prevent cavities and other dental problems. Even if they are staying up later at night and sleeping in in the mornings, make sure to remind them to brush twice a day for 2 minutes. While the change in their daily routines can make it easy to slip up at first, if you are watchful, especially in the first couple of weeks of summer freedom, they are likely to maintain their brushing habits through the summer months.
The ADA recommends brushing twice a day for at least 2 minutes. Most people already don’t brush long enough, and kids might want to rush their brushing even more during summer to get out and play or to get to bed after a busy day. Setting a timer, cell phone countdown app, or even getting a toothbrush with built-in timing is a great idea any time of year.
Summer brings ice cream, popsicles, lemonade, and other tempting treats. Sadly, more frequent snacking and an increase in sugary or acidic food and drinks can lead to cavities. While a good brushing routine helps, there are some other tips you can try to help avoid tooth damage.
First, limit sugary or acidic foods and drinks. While it is okay to indulge on occasion, a healthy diet is great for your kids’ teeth and overall health. Instead of candy and other sugary snacks, offer raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts as alternatives.
Even though they are portrayed as healthy and refreshing, sports drinks are sugary, and lemonade’s acidity can be bad for teeth. Water is always the best option. In fact, drinking water often can actually help keep teeth clean throughout the day by washing away debris and bacteria and helping natural saliva bathe the teeth. If your kids indulge in a sugary drink, give them a straw. Using a straw may lessen the amount of sugar that comes directly in contact with the surfaces of the teeth.
Summer is a common time for dental injury. Summer sports can be a great way to spend their time and get exercise, but make sure your kids are wearing proper mouth guards for sports with a danger of dental injury. In addition, be careful they don’t run near pools, docks, or on other wet surfaces, as falls can lead to chipped teeth and other injuries.
If your kids fall off their regular routines, get them back on track as soon as you notice. All is certainly not lost because of a brief slip-up. The sooner they get back to brushing and flossing regularly, the better.
The same goes for food and drinks. If you notice sweets and sugary beverages are creeping in a little too often, try to get back to your normal healthy eating habits. Don’t beat yourself up for falling off track as long as you get back to good habits quickly.
Keeping up with family dental exams during the last few years has been disrupted by COVID. The summer is a perfect time to schedule your regular checkups since kids won’t have to miss school for their appointment. Call us today to book your summer checkups early and beat the back-to-school rush!