As parents, we understand the importance of good dental habits for a healthy, happy smile. While summer vacation sets the stage for fun, new experiences, it can also seriously disrupt your 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
Visiting the dentist regularly can help your child’s smile stay healthy all year long. Parents often schedule dental checkups around August, right before school starts, which is a great way to start the school year off right. However, if you want to ensure that your summer isn’t interrupted with dental concerns, we recommend scheduling a dental appointment right after class ends. This will significantly reduce the likelihood of 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. Also, don’t forget to clean between their teeth once a day. With consistent brushing and flossing habits, your kids will stay on track for healthy back-to-school dental visits.
Stock healthy items
Great dental care goes beyond brushing and flossing. A balanced diet that is rich in low-sugar foods can promote good dental health! When kids are home during the summer, make sure your children are grazing on healthy items by stocking your refrigerator and pantry with fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grain foods. Good snack choices for healthy teeth include low-fat yogurt, celery sticks, cheddar cheese, apples, and unsalted almonds.
Say no to sugary beverages and foods
Making wise food choices is an essential part of daily dental care for kids. As the temperature rises, it’s easy to sip and snack on sugary beverages or foods. If they are constantly consuming high amounts of sugar, they are more likely to get cavities. To protect your child’s teeth, watch their intake of lemonade, juice, and soda. You should also swap out any acidic, sugary foods with nutritious snacks.
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
Summer break means time for family 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. If you plan ahead, you will be able to keep your child’s dental care routine on track.
Get a mouthguard
If your child plays sports, be sure he or she wears a comfortable protective mouth guard that fits well. A good mouth guard can prevent missing teeth, a fractured jaw, or even a concussion. 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, even if they are wearing braces.
Know the signs of a dental emergency
Sometimes, dental emergencies can occur in spite of your best efforts to protect your child’s smile. If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, please make an emergency dental appointment.
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Tooth pain
- Jaw pain
- Jaw swelling
- Knocked-out adult teeth
- Excessive bleeding of the gums
- Pus or swelling around a specific tooth
Planning for your child’s dental care this summer is important! With these tips, you can keep your child’s teeth healthy all summer long. If your child is overdue for their dental appointment, please contact us today to schedule an appointment. We provide expert dental care to children of all ages in our local dental offices.