We all get out of our usual routine during the summer. That’s good! Summer should be about kicking back, relaxing, taking on new adventures and having fun. However, that can mean eating more sugar-filled foods than usual, downing sodas and other sugary drinks and going for longer than usual without brushing.
There’s no reason why your and your family’s dental health should suffer in the summer. After all, no one wants to start the new school year with a mouthful of cavities or a toothache. You can have still fun and maintain good oral hygiene at the same time. You can have still fun and maintain good oral hygiene at the same time. Following are some tips for maintaining dental health during the summer.
Schedule Dental Check-ups Now
Many parents wait until August, just before school starts, to schedule their kids’ dental check-ups. However, it’s best to get these out of the way early in the summer. That way, if there are any issues that need to be addressed, they’ll be taken care of before summer gets fully underway. Nothing can ruin a summer vacation like a toothache, so while you’re at it, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to schedule check-ups for the whole family.
Keep Healthy Food on Hand
When kids are home from school, they’re likely to raid the refrigerator all day long. Make sure that your refrigerator contains healthy snacks, including fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead of having soda and fruit drinks on hand, keep bottled water available. Take it along on trips and to games as well. It’s essential to stay hydrated while adventuring in the summer sun, so investing in some decent reusable water bottles will go a long way to promoting hydration.
Keep Travel-Size Toothbrushes, Toothpaste and Dental Floss on Hand
If you and your family go to the beach for the day or you take a trip over to the San Juan Islands or up to Canada for a few days, it’s easy to get out of the habit of brushing and flossing. Fortunately, there are all kinds of travel size toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss available in the travel aisle of your local drug store. Make sure that everyone has his or her own dental kit wherever you go. (We’d love to supply you with a travel kit for the entire family! Just stop by the office and ask!)
Handling Dental Emergencies
Summer brings more outdoor activities and, unfortunately, more mishaps that can cause teeth to be chipped or knocked out. Many of these accidents occur around pools, but skateboarding accidents are another common cause of tooth injury. We’re careful to equip our kids with helmets, knee pads and other protective gear, but too often their mouths are left exposed. A fall to the pavement can cause serious dental injuries, so a protective custom mouth guard may be a good solution.
Whether you’re on vacation or just on a day trip, keep an emergency dental kit on hand. This should include gauze, a cloth, a small container and ibuprofen. If your child breaks or knocks out a tooth, it’s important to get him or her to a dentist as quickly as possible. In the meantime, you can minimize permanent damage and pain by doing the following:
• Use gauze to stop the bleeding.
• Apply warm water to clean the area.
• Apply cold packs to minimize swelling.
• If possible, put the tooth (assuming it’s a permanent one) back in the mouth. If that’s not possible, keep it moist until you can get your child and the tooth to the dentist.
Summer’s come and go, but teeth are forever. Even if your kids still have their baby teeth, keeping those healthy can improve their bite and overall dental health in the years to come. If you model good dental hygiene to your kids, regardless of the time of year and your schedule, they’ll get used to practicing it themselves. They won’t see it as a chore or something that mom or dad nags them about – it will be an essential part of their lives.