Protecting Summer Smiles: 8 tips for protecting your child’s teeth

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Summer means big time fun in the sun,  so here are eight tips for keeping your child’s smile healthy and bright during the hottest months of the year.

Avoid sugary drinks and snacks

Sugary drinks and snacks are a major cause of cavities. When you eat or drink something sugary, the bacteria in your mouth produces acids that attack your tooth enamel. Over time, that can lead to cavities. Instead of a bag of chips, consider giving your child some cool crunchy veggies for a snack.

Instead of letting your child grab a soda or a sugary juice when they are thirsty, we recommend water whenever possible.

“Water is always your best bet. Keeping your child hydrated is good for their body and for their teeth. Encourage them to keep their favorite water bottle full when they head out to play,” said Dr. Lela Farmer, lead dentist at Scuba Smiles for Kids, which is located in North Central San Antonio

Keep the routine for healthier smiles

It is so easy to forget about routines once the school year ends. It is important to remind your child about brushing and flossing twice a day.  Summer time means your child may be eating more hot dogs, more burgers, more sweets and yes, more junk food! The best way to sidestep dental problems is to maintain their flossing and brushing routine.  Remember, brushing removes plaque and food particles left behind by all that summer food. Oh, and a quick brush of the tongue is not a bad idea, because that can help to remove bacteria that leads to bad breath.

See your dentist for that regular checkup

If a regular dental checkup is due, don’t postpone it because it’s the summer. Your dentist can remove plaque and tartar buildup that your child’s toothbrush cannot reach.

“Remember your child’s dentist can also spot any potential problems early on that you may not have noticed. So it important to get your child that regular checkup and cleaning, even if you don’t have any complaints about their teeth,” said Dr. Farmer.

Protect their mouth from the sun

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your mouth and lips, activating cold sores and increasing your risk of skin cancer. When your children are outdoors, be sure they are protected from the sun’s UV rays by using plenty of sunscreen and lip balm with SPF.

Don’t slip now

Whether it be a slippery boat, or the tile surface around a pool, or outdoor showers at the beach, there are plenty of places that a child can slip and fall during the summer if they are not careful. Thus that old cry “don’t run, walk!” A slip and fall can damage a tooth or worse. Make sure your children are aware of the slippery hazards beneath their feet.

Don’t chew on ice

Chewing on ice can chip or crack your child’s teeth. If you kids have a craving for something cold, the solution might be soft serve ice cream, frozen fruit popsicles, or cold fruit. Remember one big crunch of ice could lead to a dental disaster.

Summer sports and mouth guards

Summer means sports. From soccer clubs and camps to Little League.  One minor mishap or ball hitting the mouth could lead to a painful problem. One way to side step a sports disaster? Think about getting your child a mouth guard this summer. Investing in a mouth guard now could mean saving a huge dental bill down the road.

Don’t use your teeth as tools

The one frustration with summer food? Bags, cans, and containers can be impossible to open. Your children may be very tempted to use their teeth to loosen a lid or pry open containers with their teeth. Trying to use the teeth as a can opener can result in damaged teeth. Who needs that hassle in the middle of summer vacation? Make sure your child is not using their teeth as a tool. If they are having trouble opening a container help them find the appropriate tool to do the job. Please tell your children to treat their teeth like jewels and not like tools.

At Scuba Smiles we want you and your family to have a great summer. We also want your child to have a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Remember, if you have any questions about your child’s oral health, we are always here to help. Call us anytime. Have an awesome summer!