Summer is right around the corner and we know your family’s schedule is about to change. With children being out of school, hanging out at the house, and often on the go with fun summer activities, eating healthy and maintaining good oral hygiene can be a real struggle.
Lone Star Pediatric Dental & Braces is always happy to help, but here are a few tips and tricks to get you through those long summer days:
1. Don’t Forget to Brush
Brushing and flossing twice a day is as important in the summer as it is any other time of the year. But with summer vacations, camps, and long days at the pool, don’t be surprised if you have to remind your kids to brush and floss more than normal. Their minds will be occupied on other “fun” activities. Try and make brushing and flossing something fun or even reward them for remembering on their own.
2. Prevent Dental Emergencies
It wouldn’t be summer without lots of swimming, traveling, visiting the playground, or other outdoor activities. While these are so much fun, they can unfortunately result in unexpected dental emergencies. Below are some helpful ways to prevent and remedy a dental accident:
- Make sure your kids follow the “pool rules.” According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many of the summer emergencies dentists treat are pool related accidents. Running on slippery pool decks, diving into shallow waters, or bumping the pool ledge with their mouth causes many children to either chip or knock a tooth loose.
- Know what to do yourself when a tooth is knocked out: Getting to the dentist right away is important, but there are things you can do to help.
- Use cold packs to help reduce swelling and aid with pain, and gauze to stop any bleeding. Be sure to pick the tooth up by the crown of the tooth, not the root.
- Gently rinse the tooth, being careful to not remove any tissue.
- Place a lost permanent tooth back in the mouth, if your child is capable of holding it in their without swallowing it. Otherwise, use saline or milk and a small container to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist.
3. Stock up on Healthy Snacks
The easiest way parents can help children prevent tooth decay and cavities is to monitor their eating habits. Start by investing in healthy snacks the next time you head to the grocery store. While it’s easy to get caught up in the junk food isles, a good rule to follow is shopping the perimeter of the store since that is where the healthier food lies. We understand it’s hard to limit snacking, BUT if you switch those bad, sugary foods out for fruits and veggies you are sure to feel better about your kids snacking all day. As far as drinks go, we suggest ditching the sugary and acidic sodas, juices, and sport drinks, instead opting for good old H2O.
Cavity-causing organisms feed on sugar and turn it into acid, which attacks tooth enamel and causes tooth decay. Sticky, chewy foods and candy can linger on teeth throughout the day creating the optimal environment for these organisms. If children do happen to eat sugary snacks, they should brush and rinse with water as soon as they finish eating it.
4. Schedule that Summer Cleaning
Parents tend to wait to schedule dental checkups until right before school starts. But to prevent dental problems over summer, book the kids in right when school ends. This way the kids will have a clean bill of dental health for summer. The last thing you want is a child suffering from a toothache while trying to enjoy your summer vacation.
5. Protect Your Toothbrush from Germs
While toothbrush covers are great for traveling, your toothbrush needs to “breathe”. Allow your toothbrush to thoroughly dry before covering (a wet toothbrush promotes bacteria growth), and make sure that your toothbrush cover has holes in it for ventilation.