When we think of summer, we think of relaxing, getting out of our normal schedules, trying new things and snacking by the pool. These are some of the reasons why we all love summer so much! But these are also the reasons why summer can be hard on our oral health – especially for our kids.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) views summertime as a difficult time for kids’ oral health. With this news, what can parents do to protect their kids’ teeth?
Here are some tips on how to protect kids teeth and still make summer fun!
Eat Sweets, But Not Often
We all know how difficult it would be to say, “No sweets this summer!” Although we all should decrease our sugar intake, the key really is moderation. An important factor in moderation is to control what food you have in your home. If you need your kids to eat and drink less sweets, don’t buy as many! Here are some tips on how to help your child eat sweets less often and how to prevent sugar from causing tooth decay.
- Purchase Healthier Snacks This Summer. Fruits and vegetables are a great place to start! Set some fresh veggies out with an assortment of dips. You could also try blending fruits in a blender or food processor and making your own popsicles at home!
- Find Alternatives to Soda. Instead of stocking up on soda, have ice cold water available. You can also add fruit to your water to make it more fun. Try strawberry lemon water, or cucumber lime water!
- Drink Water after Eating Sugar. If you do eat or drink something sugary, it’s best to rinse your mouth out with water afterward. This will help make sure that the sugar is not staying on your teeth allowing decay to grow.
- Eat Sugar in One Setting. Instead of sipping on sugary drinks and eating candy throughout the day, try having healthier treats with a meal. Again, this will ensure that your teeth are free of sugar residue.
If you still feel like you’re stuck in a rut, check out our blog post 5 Tips for Healthy Summer Eating for some more tips and tricks!
Your Teeth Are Not Tools
While your kids are lounging by the pool this summer, it might be tempting for them to open up the snack or drink with their teeth. Let them know that this is not what their teeth are intended for. Fracturing a tooth is painful and expensive. Explaining the repercussions to your child is just one way to help protect their teeth.
Wear a Mouth Guard during Summer Sports
Playing sports in the summer is a great activity for children! However, this great activity can be sidelined by tooth injuries. It’s best to buy your child a mouth guard for their favorite summer sport.
Try to Keep a Schedule
You may be saying, “What? It’s summertime!” The flexibility of summer is wonderful, but this flexibility can often get your child out of the habit of regular brushing and flossing. Even though you may be traveling or spending lazy days at home, remind your kids to brush and floss their teeth. This is one of the most important things you can do as a parent to protect your kids’ teeth.
Check pH Levels in Your Pool
Swimming is one of the best activities of the summer! However, the chlorine levels in your pool can affect the health of your teeth. Levels that are too high can soften teeth over time and make them more susceptible to decay. If you have a pool and would like more information about this tip in general, check out our blog post How to Protect Your Teeth in the Summertime.
Take Your Kids for their Bi-Annual Checkup
Summertime is a great time for your kids to have a checkup at their dentist! You don’t have to worry about them missing school or other activities. If you do this, it will be easier to remember when to schedule their checkups every year.
Need a way to help pay for these bi-annual dental checkups? Check out this affordable dental option.
Summertime is one of the best times of the year, but be on the lookout for culprits like extra sugar intake, sports-related injuries and chlorine that could cause dental problems for your children down the road. Taking these small steps and providing healthier snacks for your children will go a long way in protecting their teeth.
What healthy summer snack has been a success in your home? Share your experience and recipe in the comment section below.