Summer has finally arrived, and that can mean a change in your daily schedule, especially if you have children at home. Later bedtimes and sleeping in are a part of summer vacation, but they can also disrupt the oral health routines they follow throughout the school year. Here are some ways to prevent summertime tooth decay issues, whether you have children at home or not:
Don’t slack on your routine
Staying up late, going to sleepovers, summer camps, and vacations can all wreak havoc on dental hygiene routines. Maintaining your dental routine, even when you’re away from home, is vital to keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Children may also need extra reinforcement to maintain dental habits. It is important to keep your children on track – brushing twice daily for at least two minutes, and flossing every day. You may need to create reminders, like a brushing calendar, to keep them on track. And try brushing and flossing WITH your child, to make sure they’re brushing and flossing regularly, and to make sure they’re doing it correctly.
Watch your sugar intake
Both children and adults tend to increase their intake of sugary drinks during the summer, which can be a real problem for your dental health. In addition to the sugar, carbonation from sodas wears on your enamel, making the teeth more susceptible to cavities. Sugary drinks, although refreshing, should be something you enjoy only once in a while. Instead, try to increase the amount of water you are drinking.
A bonus tip from the ADA: Drink your water from the tap, instead of bottled or filtered. Tap water has flouride, which strengthens your enamel, making your teeth more resistant to decay. Plus, you’ll save a ton of money as well.
Summer can also mean more snacking. Whether your child at home is grazing out of boredom, or you’re treating yourself on vacation, pay close attention to how often you’re snacking, and what you’re snacking on. Constant snacking means your mouth doesn’t have time to allow saliva to “bathe” the teeth. Take a break to allow the saliva to wash away leftover food. And of course WHAT you and your children are snacking on can make a huge difference. Cutting out sugary and sticky foods is very important, so keep track of the amount of sugar in your snack habits. Stock a “healthy kitchen” to reduce the chance of straying from your healthy routine.
Reduce the chance of dental emergencies
With summer comes outdoor adventures, like swimming, hiking, canoeing, bike riding, and sports. All of that can also mean more risk of injury, so protect yourself and your family by being prepared.
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many dental injuries occur in or near swimming pools. Running on slippery surfaces, diving into shallow waters, or bumping the edge of the pool with your mouth can all cause dental emergencies. Most of those types of injuries can be avoided simply by following the pool rules.
Injuries happen though, and being prepared is the most important thing. When you are away from home, pack a dental emergency kit and keep with you at all times. The kit should contain a handkerchief, gauze, a small container with a lid (to put a tooth in, in case it is knocked out), ibuprofen, and your dentist’s contact information.
Know what to do if a dental emergency happens: Use warm water and cold packs first, to clean the area and reduce swelling, respectively. Use gauze to stop any bleeding. Place a lost permanent tooth back in the mouth, if possible. If not, use salt water or milk to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist. And of course, get to the dentist right away.
Schedule your back-to-school appointments early
Time flies in the summer, and before you know it, school will be back in session. Many parents want to schedule their child’s dental appointments during the summer months, to avoid them having to miss class. It’s a good idea to get on the schedule early in the summer, to avoid the August rush, and to get an appointment time that works for your family.
Call us to schedule your appointment today at 479-751-9899!