4 Tips for Healthy Summer Smiles
By: General Dentist Emily Skibinski
It’s hard to believe summer is nearly upon us! This new season welcomes great fun and also a change in our schedules. However, an increase in outdoor fun, traveling, and sports doesn’t mean we can get too relaxed with our oral health habits. In fact, summer can be a great time to help your kids brush up on habits for keeping their teeth healthy all year long! Read on for some quick tips for keeping your family’s smiles bright during the summer and beyond.
1. Stay in a routine
In the summer, it can be easy to let oral health fall by the wayside. But as summer routines change, make sure your kids’ oral health stays on track. To help maintain a routine, consider making a fun chart to keep track of morning and evening brushing as well as daily flossing. Figure out what schedule and/or rewards work best for your family and keep with it to help reduce the chance of dental issues further down the road.
2. Say no to sugary snacks and drinks
Whether you’re heading to the park or relaxing at the beach or pool, it can be tempting to grab easy on-the-go snacks such as chips, fruit snacks, animal crackers, and cookies. Though they’re easy and save time, these options have a lot of added sugars and can lead to tooth decay and cavities over time. Instead, we recommend packing apple slices, cheese cubes, grapes, and nuts to keep your kids energized all day long.
As far as beverages go, water is always the best option. Though kids love the sweetness of juice and sports drinks, they also have a lot of unnecessary sugars that would love to adhere to your child’s teeth all day and begin to eat away at the enamel. Plus, if your kids are running around and being active, they need to stay hydrated, and water is always the best way to replenish fluids. Be sure to bring water on the go and save the sugary drinks for special occasions and keep them in moderation.
3. Say YES to mouth guards!
If your child plays a summer sport, make sure to purchase them a mouth guard. Sports injuries often result in broken or chipped front teeth, fractured tooth roots, and cut lips (and if your child has braces, these injuries can be even worse!). You can help prevent these injuries during contact sports like football or soccer by always encouraging the use of a mouth guard.
4. Schedule your kids’ back-to-school appointments
Once school is out, the fall seems ages away. However, the sooner you schedule your child’s back-to-school appointment, the more appointment times will be available and you’ll be able to lock in a date that works best with your schedule. Before summer gets too busy, remember to call and schedule all upcoming dental appointments for your family!
If you have questions about your family’s oral health, our team at Dental Associates Franklin is always happy to help. Click the button below to request an appointment today. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Daily Oral Health Care Steps as a Family Healthcare Provider:
- Brush teeth twice a day for two minutes using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. If you are the one doing the brushing, this is the easiest way to spot a problem in the mouth early on and can result in the best outcome for treatment before more significant issues arise.
- Clean in between the teeth with floss, a floss pick, or a water flosser. If your loved one has dentures or partials, rinse them after meals, clean them daily with denture cleaner and a soft denture brush, take them out before bed, and place them in water overnight. Doing this daily will keep food and debris from getting trapped under the denture, which may cause sores on the gum tissue, and keep the appliance clean.
- Limit snacking and sugary drinks. Healthy foods are good for the mouth and body while also helping keep your loved ones’ cavity risk down. Sugary drinks and frequent snacking will cause the bacteria in the mouth to increase, thus increasing the patient’s risk of getting a cavity.
- Using a fluoride rinse or gel daily will provide additional protection for their teeth.
- If your loved one complains about dry mouth, you can try several commercial mouth rinses made for dry mouth. Having your patient sipping on water or ice chips can also help.
- Take your loved one to regular dental appointments to have their teeth examined and cleaned regularly–even if they have dentures or partials. It’s important to have the dentures and oral tissue examined to ensure no sore areas on the tissue or a crack in the denture.
- Watch for symptoms that could be a result of a larger issue. Some medications may cause dry mouth, and some can cause a patient to develop a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans, better known as “Thrush.” Some patients will have a complaint they are having difficulty chewing or swallowing. If your loved one has a new symptom, do not hesitate to have that checked out with a dentist.
The support you can give your loved one as a family caregiver is important. The support and daily care you provide, along with the professional care of a dentist, will give your loved one the best chance for a healthy mouth.