Summer’s here, which means beach days, barbecues, and staying up late eating junk food—at least, that’s what it might mean to your kids!
To keep everyone’s smiles looking and feeling great, make sure to run through this checklist so everyone can get the most out of the summer sun.
1. Stock Up on Healthy Snacks
With summer comes lots of junk food: grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, eating chips by the pool, flagging down the ice cream truck. But these unhealthy foods aren’t tooth-friendly. Skip the junk food and stock your fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
Apples and pears are particularly good for teeth because they boost saliva production, which washes away bacteria and food particles, and their fibrous texture stimulates gums and pulls food from teeth. Carrots and celery have similar benefits, and all are packed with vitamins and nutrients.
Pro tip: Topping celery with cream cheese makes it tastier and better for teeth. Cheese has lots of calcium and protein, which helps strengthen tooth enamel.
To satisfy sweet cravings and get some relief from the heat, try your hand at homemade popsicles made from frozen yogurt and/or fruit! Both options have less sugar than most store-bought brands. (Plus, you can sneak some veggies into smoothies.)
2. Stay Hydrated
Regular old water is one of the most tooth-friendly ways to stay hydrated.
Lemonade and other citrus juices are super acidic and wear down enamel. Soda is laden with sugar, as are most sports drinks, and both typically have citrus juices.
Even if you opt for sugar-free soda or sparkling water, the carbonation can increase the acidity in your mouth, which also softens enamel.
But kids don’t care about the health effects. They want to drink something that tastes good!
To liven up your “plain” water, fruit-infusion is the way to go. Pick your favorite fruits, slice and dice ’em, add to water, and you’ve got naturally delicious and flavorful water. (Just remember to avoid citrus fruits.)
If you can’t live without your bubbles, you can lessen the damage with reusable straws, decreasing the amount of direct contact with your teeth.
It’s also important to note that if you have athletes in your family, you might want to have some sort of sports drink for them for hot days and hard practices. Just make sure to look at the nutrition label and find low-sugar options, or consider an electrolyte solution, like Pedialyte, which typically only has a few grams of sugar.
3. Protect Against the Sun
You already know to keep your skin safe from the sun’s rays with sunscreen, but what about your lips? Lips are technically a component in your overall oral health—and they’re easily burned—so always keep lip balm handy, especially on days spent outside.
We suggest something that can block one or both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of at least 15.
4. Reduce the Damage of Chlorine
If you find yourself in the pool day after day, keep an eye on your teeth. Antimicrobial elements and chlorine in pool water can break down proteins in your saliva and leave organic deposits on your teeth—brown spots—normally right on your front teeth.
If you notice any stains, get in touch, and we’ll check it out. An extra cleaning or two might be in order.
5. Safeguard Your Sports Enthusiasts With a Mouth Guard
With summer sports ramping up, it’s important to think about mouth safety on the field. Do yourself a favor and invest in a custom-fit mouth guard for all the athletes in your family.
While a custom-fit mouth guard might seem expensive at first, it’s a fraction of the cost of emergency dental repair for broken, cracked or knocked-out permanent teeth. Mouth guards prevent an estimated 200,000 oral injuries a year, which means a lot of money saved and a lot of pain avoided.
6. Maintain a Schedule
Normal schedules go out the window during the summer for kids, but it’s still important to maintain some semblance of normality. Brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouth wash should be standard parts in everyone’s daily routine.
But once the routine changes, it becomes easier for kids—and parents—to “forget” to brush their teeth before hitting the sack at the end of the day.
Keep your family on track! Make a routine, whether you have them enrolled in a summer camp or you’re spending your summer at home together. Introduce morning chores, have breakfast as a family, or do other things to establish a daily schedule.
If you have reasons to help the kids get out of bed at a semi-regular time, the other habits are more likely to stick.
7. Keep in Touch
Summertime can also mean moving. Have you moved this summer, or are you planning to move? Make sure you update your contact information with us!
It’s easy to forget about your next dentist appointment amidst the chaos that comes with moving. If you share your new information with us, we can help you out with reminders, rescheduling, and making sure your records get sent to your new dentist if you’re far away, so that you never miss a beat even when you’re busy.
Looking for more ways to keep your kids’ pearly whites healthy? Here are 6 tips to keep them cavity-free >
Brought to you by Blue Hills Dental. Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. You should always consult a licensed professional when making decisions concerning dental care. #2017-42611 (exp. 6/19).