Summer is here, and your family's schedule is topsy-turvy, which means getting your kids to eat right and maintain good oral hygiene can be a struggle. With all of these extra activities, there may even be a dental emergency or two. Here are a few oral health tips for summer that will help you protect your child and their developing teeth from long-term damage and avoidable mishaps.
KEEP UP THAT HYGIENE
No matter how eventful the upcoming months become, supervise their brushing routine twice a day for 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Whether your child is staying up late to watch fireworks or catch fireflies, resist the temptation to let him/her skip brushing before bedtime or early in the morning.
Parents can find ways to encourage their kids to brush by making it fun. For example, summer is a great time to buy new, cartoon or Disney-themed toothbrushes to replace the old and worn out one sitting in the cup. Simple things like colorful brushing calendars can help everyone stay on track over the summer. Plus, it’s a chance to spend more time together!
TIME FOR CHECK-UPS
Don’t forget about your child’s smile over the summer. Parents tend to schedule dental checkups in August, right before class starts. However, it is recommended that you schedule your child’s back-to-school appointment early in the summer, to avoid the August rush and help insure you get the appointment time that works best for you. As a parent, the last thing you want is a child suffering from a toothache while away on summer vacation, so having that clean bill of health right from the start can be important.
STOCK A HEALTHY KITCHEN
As the temperature rises, it’s common for kids to sip and snack, at the beach, ballpark, and play dates with friends. Keep the summer from being an "acid attack" on your child’s teeth by investing in healthy snacks. It can be hard to limit snacking when the kids are home all day, but with the availability of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, you can stock the fridge with healthy options. Be sure to keep these foods ready to grab and go. You'll feel better about snacking when the kids are reaching for blueberries and strawberries instead of candy and cookies. Swap out the sugary, acidic soft drinks like soda and Gatorade with bottled water.
PREVENT A DENTAL EMERGENCY
It wouldn't be summer without swimming, bike riding, baseball and other outdoor activities. While these are great fun, they can unfortunately result in a dental injury.
Parents can be prepared by following these simple tips:
- Ensure that your child follows the "pool rules." According to the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), many of the summer oral injuries dentists treat are due to a pool accident. 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.
- Champion a dental emergency. Getting to the dentist right away is important, and there are things you can do to help. Use warm water and cold packs first, to clean the area and reduce swelling, respectively. Use gauze to stop any bleeding. Place a lost permanent tooth back in the mouth, if possible. If not, use salt water or milk to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist.
- Pack a dental first-aid kit for vacation. Essentials for this kit, according to the AAPD, are a handkerchief, gauze, a small container with a lid, ibuprofen and your dentist's contact information.
Summer can really throw your routine for a loop but by following these oral health tips for summer, your kids can start the school year with great oral hygiene.
Source: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)