The best summer break should not require a visit to a Palo Alto pediatric dentist, all in the name of getting some fillings! And the best way to prevent an emergency visit to the dentist is to take simple steps to take care of your child’s teeth during summer. Summer oral routine can be especially challenging as changes in daily diets and lack of routine can have a negative impact on your children’s teeth. It is easy to see how.
Sleeping in longer hours and forgetting to brush, combined with sugary drinks or sodas throughout the hot days, vacation car trips with sugary snacks or hard candy, popcorn kernels, or ice can all damage oral health. And don’t overlook the dental emergencies that might arise if your children hurt their teeth during contact sports or other summer activities.
But summer oral care does not have to be demanding. Follow our dental tips below to keep your kid’s smile shining all summer long!
- Schedule your kid’s dental check-up early enough
Visit a pediatric dentist at the start of every summer. Evidently, there is no better occasion to set up one of those bi-annual dental appointments than summer, when your children are out of school and your schedule is more flexible.
Most parents wait until summer ends to schedule these appointments. Chances are they find dental offices fully booked at this time or end up being overwhelmed by the back-to-school mad rush. As such, it is advisable to plan your child’s trip to the dentist as soon as the summer begins and avoid being caught up in an unnecessary last-minute rush.
- Stay on schedule
Summer vacation can disrupt bedtime routines. Regardless of how action-packed your summer gets, it’s vital to ensure your children continue to practice good oral hygiene.
Resist the temptation to allow your children to skip brushing and flossing before bedtime. Also, constantly supervise them to ensure they are brushing twice every day, for at least two minutes with dentist-recommended toothpaste. The American Dental Association (ADA) advises parents to use brushing calendars to be on top of their children’s brushing habits during summer.
Besides, it is an opportunity to spend more time with them. Brushing alongside your kids for two minutes twice a day for at least three months gives you a total of six extra hours together; thus, make the most of them!
- Prepare well for sleepovers
No summer break is complete without sleepovers. Sadly, amidst all the pillow throwing and fun, your children could “forget” their brushing habits. Make sure that you pack toothpaste and toothbrushes along with their pajamas and sleeping bags. Furthermore, you can also make it a habit of calling in to ensure that your kid brushes.
It might appear ridiculous to place such emphasis on brushing. But, better brush now than plan emergency visits to a pediatric dentist later, right? Being vigilant will teach your children the significance of dental care throughout their lifetime.
- Buy healthy summer beverages and snacks.
Having your children home all day means endless snacking opportunities. It is easy to flood the refrigerator with candy, chips, fruit juices, raisins, cakes, and bread. However, these foods can easily dent your kids’ teeth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cavities (also known as tooth decay or caries) are among the most common chronic illnesses that affect kids in the U.S. Here is how cavities affects children based on their age groups:
- Ages 5-11: The prevalence of untreated cavities in kids aged 5-11 years is 20%.
- Ages 12-19: The prevalence of untreated cavities in adolescents aged 12-19 is 13%.
As a general tip, avoid acidic, sugary, or starchy food items. Say no to gummy candies. Such snacks stick on your kid’s teeth, invite bacteria, and cause potential tooth decay.
Alternatively, stock your pantry with fresh vegetables and fruits, and make healthy eating seem like a cool thing. Even more important, make plenty of clean drinking water available. When sending your children off to play, trade in the pricey sports drinks for cool, refreshing water.
- Prevent dental emergencies
For children, most dental emergencies come about in the summer. Extended time playing outside means more adventures. And while those can be fun, children sometimes hurt their teeth when riding bikes, playing outdoor sports, or enjoying other daring activities.
If your kid has a dental emergency, ensure you take them to a Palo Alto pediatric dentist near you to treat the injury. Most importantly, always encourage your children to wear helmets and mouthguards when riding skateboards, bikes, or roller skates.
Summing it up
No matter the season you are in, early dental care is important. Creating and strictly following a dental health care routine is vital for both your kid’s short and long-term health. Observing simple tips like brushing twice a day, snacking healthy, and regularly visiting a pediatric dentist are helpful in protecting your kids’ teeth all summer and beyond.
Information in this article has been gathered from multiple public health sources, including: