It’s almost that time of year again. The school year is winding down, and your child is getting ready for their favorite time of the year: summer vacation! Summer is a wonderful time for families to spend time together on vacation and for kids to let loose and have fun. However, without the routine of the school day to guide them, some children can slip out of their regular oral care routine. Make sure that your child has a tooth-healthy summer with these summer dental tips for kids.
1. Pack Dental Essentials for Vacation
If your family has any vacations or trips planned for the summer, make sure that oral care essentials are on your packing checklist. There’s nothing worse than getting to the hotel to discover you’ve left your toothbrush at home! Make it a point to bring all of the oral care items that you and your child will need — toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, etc. If you’re traveling by plane, be sure to pick up a travel-friendly tube of toothpaste.
Keep toothbrushes clean and sanitary by purchasing a handy travel case. These plastic cases will keep your toothbrush from mingling with the rest of the things in your bag. You don’t want the bristles of your child’s toothbrush rubbing up against their dirty socks, after all!
2. Pack Healthy Summer Snacks and Drinks
With the kids home all day, there are a lot more opportunities for snacking. It’s easy just to fill the pantry with things like chips and candy, but these foods can wreak havoc on your child’s teeth. One of the best summer dental tips for kids is to snack healthy, which means avoiding foods that are too acidic, sugary, or starchy.
Always avoid sticky snacks like fruit snacks or gummy candy. These foods stick to your child’s teeth, creating a feast for bacteria. The bacteria feeds on the sugar in the food, which can cause tooth decay. Starchy snacks like potato chips and pretzels cause a similar problem for teeth. When chewed, starches break down into sugars that form a gummy paste. This paste then sticks to teeth and even gets into the crevices between teeth. Just like sticky snacks, this sugary paste provides food for bacteria that cause tooth decay.
In the summer heat, keeping your child hydrated is incredibly important. However, be sure to avoid sodas, fruit juices, and sugary sports drinks. Bubbly sodas get their carbonation from carbonic acid, which makes soda a very acidic drink. When your child’s teeth are exposed to acid, it wears away at the enamel. Eroded enamel makes teeth more susceptible to tooth decay and more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures and sweet foods.
Even supposedly “healthier” options like fruit juice and sports drinks are loaded with added sugar that are just as bad for their teeth. When your child drinks a sugary drink, that sugar then sticks to their teeth. Bacteria in the mouth feeds on the sugar, which creates acid. Like with acidic soda, this acid then wears away at the enamel. By avoiding these foods and drinks, you can have a much easier –– and less expensive –– visit to your family dentist in Las Vegas the next time around!
3. Prevent Dental Emergencies
Summer is the perfect time for your child to let loose and enjoy their favorite outdoor activities, but it’s important to consider summer dental tips for kids who love to be active. Activities like swimming, bike riding, and volleyball can be lots of fun, but they can also pose hazards to your child’s teeth. Parents should learn what to do in case of a dental emergency, just in case.
If your child chips or knocks a tooth loose, the best thing to do is get to the dentist right away. In the meantime, you can do things to mitigate the situation. Clean the area with warm water and use cold packs to help reduce swelling. If there’s bleeding, use gauze to stanch it. If your child loses a permanent tooth, try to put it back in their mouth. If that’s not possible, keep the tooth in salt water or milk to keep it moist until you get to the dentist.
A worthwhile summer dental tip for kids and parents is to have a dental emergency pack on hand. Stock it with a handkerchief, gauze, a small container with a lid (for storing broken or lost teeth), ibuprofen, and your dentist’s contact information.
4. Make Your Back-to-School Dentist Appointment
Once the end of the summer rolls around, everyone starts to scramble to catch up on what they’ve put off during the summer. Don’t fall victim to busy September scheduling season. While this is less of a summer dental tip for kids than it is for parents, it’s just as important. Parents should be sure to schedule children’s back-to-school dental appointments well in advance. The earlier you book an appointment, the easier it will be to fit it in to your busy post-summer schedule.
At your child’s dental check up, their dentist can make sure that their teeth are healthy after all of that summer snacking and fun. A professional cleaning will get rid of any built up plaque and tartar so your child can enter the school year with a clean and healthy smile. In case of any accidents, your child’s dentist can check up on healing injuries with a visual exam and dental x-rays.
Summer is made for relaxation and fun. There’s no doubt that your child is already daydreaming about their summer adventures, but parents should be sure to keep their kids’ oral hygiene on track. Luckily, keeping your child’s smile healthy during the summer months isn’t so hard. Just follow these summer dental tips for kids, and make sure to schedule your child’s next dental appointment with Children’s Dentistry of Las Vegas soon.