Tips and ideas to keep your child’s oral health in top shape this summer.
It’s easy to lose track of everything else when summer fun is on the calendar. However, one thing you should never overlook during summer vacation is oral care. Frozen treats, sports, and a change in routine all pose potential risks to your child’s smile. Follow these tips to help your kids overcome these challenges.
1. Pack healthy summer snacks.
Summer snacks are among the worst culprits when it comes to oral health. They’re often loaded with sugar and rarely have the nutrients your child needs for a healthy smile. However, it’s not that hard to find better alternatives for summer snacks that will still keep children happy.
Fruits and veggies are, of course, go-to choices for healthy snacks. They’re full of essential vitamins and minerals, but they also help keep your child’s teeth clean. High fiber and water content prevent bits of food from getting left behind on teeth—a key factor in tooth decay. Dairy snacks, like cheese and yogurt, are good, too, offering plenty of calcium for strong teeth.
2. Encourage regular brushing and flossing.
Oral hygiene is key to preventing cavities and other oral health issues. Make sure to reinforce the importance of sticking with a routine for your child. It can become entirely too easy to drift away from that routine during summer vacation, but it is often much more difficult getting back on track.
Depending on the age of your child, you might consider choosing one of the many apps that play songs for the appropriate amount of brushing time. You can even find toothbrushes with built-in timers that do the same.
To get your child engaged, let them pick out their specific toothbrush and toothpaste at the store (while making sure it’s the right choice for their age).
3. Stay Hydrated (With Water!)
Hydration is essential during the summer months. It protects your child from heat and overexertion, and it also plays an important role in protecting their smiles. Drinking water frequently helps rinse away bits of food left behind. It also stimulates saliva production, which is an important part of managing oral bacteria levels.
When it comes to staying hydrated, pure, clean water is the best choice by far. Other drinks typically contain sugars that will lead to tooth decay, especially when kids drink them frequently throughout the day. Even sparkling water is a poor choice due to the acidity that comes with carbonation.
4. Keep their teeth protected during water activities.
Water activities can be a ready source of potential injury, whether your child is visiting a water park or swimming anywhere else. There is always the risk of bumping into another child in or around a pool, and the wrong angle could lead to a chipped tooth.
During water activities and other sports, you can protect your child with a custom mouth guard. This protective equipment is often required in many organized sports, but it can also provide benefits during other activities. A custom mouth guard from your dentist provides a better fit, which means greater protection and comfort.
5. Limit sugary treats and drinks.
Unfortunately, sugary treats are practically synonymous with summer. Ice cream, lemonade, and other snacks can quickly lead to tooth decay, as they provide a ready supply of energy for the bacteria in your child’s mouth. Enjoying these treats once in a while isn’t so bad, but making them a regular part of your child’s diet can cause serious oral health issues.
6. Schedule a pre-vacation dental check-up.
Regular check-ups are an essential part of dentistry for children. Your child should have a routine visit every six months to remove plaque and tartar and to identify any potential oral health issues. With summer so busy, scheduling an appointment before vacation is an easy way to manage your child’s health proactively.
7. Be prepared for emergency dental care.
Do you have a plan for a dental emergency? A chipped tooth, serious toothache, or other issues could strike at any time. Know that you have a trusted local dentist for emergencies at home, and check out where to find emergency services anywhere you’re going on vacation.
Make proper pediatric dental care a part of your summer.
It may seem like a lot at first, but if you follow these tips, it isn’t all that difficult to keep your child healthy this summer. Planning ahead, eating healthy, and taking a little precaution will help you protect your kids’ dental health.
Whether you’re in need of routine care, additional prevention, or emergency dentistry for your child, We Make Kids Smile is here for you. We provide a full range of children’s dental care in a welcoming environment. Schedule your child’s next routine appointment today, or reach out about any other oral health concerns.