Florida’s summer sun brings lots of summer fun. The combination of warm weather, no homework, and more free time results in endless entertainment. Sometimes the freedom and joy that come with this season can make it harder to stick to daily routines, but staying on top of healthy dental habits is still essential. Here are five great tips on how to help your child’s teeth stay healthy all summer long.
Follow a Brushing and Flossing Schedule
The school year comes with many routines, so it’s easier to remember to brush and floss teeth every day. While summer schedules are typically more flexible, it’s still important to keep a daily routine. Poor oral hygiene can quickly lead to problems like cavities and periodontal disease. Whether traveling, visiting with friends and family, or just spending the whole day lounging around, make sure your child sticks to a brushing and flossing routine.
One of the best ways to help your child keep their teeth and gums healthy is to make sure they brush every morning and night and floss at least once a day. Add brushing and flossing to a list of simple tasks, like making the bed and putting away laundry. For younger children, you can create a tooth care calendar, or for older kids, help them set phone reminders.
Provide Healthy Snacks
The summer heat makes it tempting to reach for an ice-cream cone or an icy, fizzy soda to help keep cool. While a sweet treat here or there is OK, reducing the number of sugary snacks and drinks your kiddo consumes will help protect their teeth. When sugar interacts with the bacteria in your mouth, it forms plaque, which coats teeth and causes cavities. Eating healthily is a crucial element to encouraging good dental health. Remember, food that’s good for your child’s body will also be good for their teeth!
Here are some things you can do to encourage your child to eat healthily:
- Choose a wide variety of tooth-friendly foods like fresh fruits, vegetables with hummus, string cheese, yogurt, whole-grain crackers, and plain nuts.
- Make fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks readily available.
- Store fruits and vegetables in ready-made bags in an easy-to-reach snack drawer.
- Keep washed fruit in a bowl on the counter that is visible and easily accessible.
- Let your child help with meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. Kids are more likely to eat what they help prepare.
- And don’t forget about choosing healthy snacks when you’re ‘on-the-go.
Choose Water Instead of Sugary and Sports Drinks
There’s no doubt that warm weather makes us sweat more, and it’s important to stay hydrated during these long, hot, and humid days. When your kids are thirsty, offer them plenty of water. Juice, soda, and sports drinks contain a lot of sugar. The sugar mixes with the naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth and creates an acid. This acid can destroy the tooth’s hard surface, called enamel, which in turn can lead to tooth decay.
Not only is water beneficial to physical health, but it’s also vital for proper oral care. Drinking water keeps your mouth hydrated and helps dilute acids from food and drinks, ultimately reducing the chances of cavities forming. Opting for a glass of water over sports beverages or sugary drinks can go a long way in preventing dental problems.
Prepare for Dental Emergencies
Whether your child is enrolled in summer camp or just enjoying some much-needed free time, chances are they’re playing outside. While games of tag and sports are a great way to get exercise and absorb some vitamin D, they also increase the risk of a dental emergency. If your child plays contact sports, make sure they have a custom-fitted mouthguard to help prevent the risk of tooth damage or loss.
If your child experiences any of these signs or symptoms of a potential dental emergency, contact us immediately:
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Intense bleeding or swelling that won’t stop
- Severe jaw ache or pain
- A permanent tooth that is loose or has fallen out
Dental emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, even on vacation. If an emergency does happen, it’s important to be prepared. If you are traveling this summer, consider adding a well-stocked dental emergency kit to your packing list.
Here’s what you should include in your kit:
- Your pediatric dentist’s phone number
- Gauze or cotton balls
- Small container with a lid
- Saline solution
- Dental wax
- Pain reliever, such as Orajel
While these incidents aren’t too common, it’s best to be prepared and to be able to recognize the signs of a dental emergency.
Check out our Dental Emergency page for more information.
Schedule Your Back-to-School Dental Visit Early
It is often easier to schedule checkups during the summer. School is out and extracurricular activities are on hold making schedules more open and relaxed. Appointments fill up fast in August and September due to the back-to-school rush, so schedule yours early.
Keep Your Child’s Teeth Healthy This Summer with These Tips from Growing Healthy Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
While summertime can be a prime time for cavities in kids, it doesn’t have to be. By sticking to an oral care routine, limiting sugary treats to a couple of times a week, keeping healthy snacks on hand, and preparing for dental emergencies, you and your kids can have a great summer vacation!
At Growing Healthy Smiles, our team is ready to answer questions, address concerns and make sure that your child’s smile is happy and healthy. Schedule an appointment today or call us at (904) 215-7800!