While summer vacation sets the stage for fun, new experiences, it can also seriously disrupt a child’s dental health routine. To help protect your child’s overall well-being this summer, it’s important to encourage proper oral hygiene. Here are some tips for keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy while they are enjoying summer vacation.
Schedule a checkup
Parents often schedule dental checkups around August, right before school starts. To prevent dental problems over summer, however, it’s good to schedule a dental appointment right after class ends. This way, your child won’t have to deal with a toothache during summer camp or sporting activities.
Stay on schedule
Summer vacation can seriously disrupt bedtime routines. No matter how eventful your summer gets, it’s important to make sure your kids continue to practice good dental hygiene. Resist the temptation to let your kids skip brushing before a late bedtime, and be sure to supervise to make sure they are brushing twice daily for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. The American Dental Association recommends that parents use brushing calendars to stay on top of kids’ brushing habits during the summer months.
Stock healthy items
When kids are home during the summer, they tend to snack throughout the day. Make sure your children are grazing on healthy items by stocking your refrigerator and pantry with fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grain foods. You should also swap out any acidic, sugary soft drinks with healthy, filtered water.
Be wary of the pool
Many parents are surprised to learn that many dental injuries occur in the pool. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the usual culprits are diving into shallow water, running on slippery surfaces or bumping teeth against the pool ledges. Be sure to supervise pool activities especially if you have young children.
Know how to respond
Be sure you know the proper first-aid steps for a tooth that has been knocked out. If a tooth is displaced, retrieve it by the crown instead of the root and place it in a container of saliva or milk. Visit the dentist as soon as you can to increase the likelihood of reattachment. It’s generally a good idea to have your dentist’s emergency number handy to avoid needless delays.
Prepare for vacations
If you will be traveling for the summer, be sure to bring along a toothbrush, floss and plenty of fluoride toothpaste. You should also pack an emergency dental care kit with a handkerchief, gauze, ibuprofen, a small container with a lid and your dentist’s emergency contact information.
Get a mouthguard
If your child plays sports, be sure he or she wears a comfortable protective mouth guard that fits well. If you aren’t sure how to select a mouth guard, get recommendations from your dentist or ask to have a custom sports mouthguard designed specifically for your child’s mouth.