It may be hard to believe, but summer will be here before you know it. And if you’re a parent, you already know what that means for your kids – lots of exercise, outdoor activities and enjoying time away from schoolwork. But summer can also bring some challenges when it comes to maintaining good oral health. Here are a few helpful reminders for how to keep your kids’ teeth and gums in tip-top shape throughout the summer months:
- Maintain a daily oral hygiene routine – It’s particularly easy in the summertime to ease up on your kids when it comes to brushing and flossing. When your little ones are tired out after a day outside or an evening of staying up later than they would on a school night, you might be tempted to let them go to bed without brushing and flossing. But avoid that temptation! Just like adults, kids need to brush and floss each and every day. And even just a few days of skipping this routine can compromise oral health. Children are more cavity-prone than adults, so too many days of missing a regular oral hygiene routine can mean more cavities – and more trips to the dentist – for your kids.
- Keep sugar to a minimum – Summer is a great time to enjoy treats that we don’t normally have throughout the rest of the year. Whether it’s ice cream, sugary sodas or a few more desserts than normal, it’s easy to fall into the bad habit of letting kids increase their sugar consumption over the summer. Be aware of this as the summer months get closer, and keep plenty of healthy snacks on hand instead. Watermelon and other seasonal fruits are an excellent choice and a good way to give your kids a sweet treat that is not only refreshing but much better for their teeth than ice cream or candy. Try to avoid lemonade and soda, and opt for water and milk most of the time. If you do let your kids have an occasional sugary snack or beverage, remind them to drink water afterwards, which will help to wash away any sugar residue left behind.
- Plan ahead for the school year – Contact your dentist to schedule regular checkups for your kids prior to the start of the school year. It’s always easier to take your little ones in during the summer rather than interrupting their school days with trips to the dentist. Keep in mind that many dental offices are quite busy during August, so you might want to call now to schedule your appointments for earlier in the summer.
Summer is a great time to take a break from our normal routines, but that should not apply to our oral health regimens. Make sure your kids eat right, brush and floss, and visit the dentist during the summer so they can enjoy year-round good oral health.