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Summer Dental Care Tips for Kids

Mouth guards being placed on a child’s teeth.

Summer is the time for kids to enjoy their break from school, play outside, and indulge in tasty treats. However, it is extremely important for parents to keep a close eye on their children’s dental hygiene this season. In this article, we will discuss some summer dental care tips for kids to help them maintain a healthy smile.

Limit Sweets

Summer is a fun and exciting time for kids, but it can also be a challenging time for dental health. With more free time and access to sugary treats, it's important for parents to be mindful of their children's dental health. One of the best ways to promote healthy teeth and gums is to limit sweets during the summer months.

Sweets, especially those that are high in sugar, can have a significant impact on dental health. When children consume sugary foods and drinks, the bacteria in their mouths feed on the sugars and produce acid. This acid can erode the enamel on teeth, leading to cavities and other dental problems.

Limiting sweets doesn't mean eliminating them altogether. It's important to teach children about moderation and healthy choices. Encourage them to choose snacks that are low in sugar, such as fresh fruit or vegetables, cheese, or nuts. If they do want a sweet treat, try to steer them towards options that are lower in sugar or have less impact on dental health, such as fruit, dark chocolate or sugar-free gum.

Use Mouth Guards

Summer is a time for outdoor activities, sports, and recreation, which can be great for kids' physical and mental health. However, it's important to be mindful of dental health, especially when it comes to protecting teeth from injury during sports and other physical activities. One of the best ways to promote dental health during the summer months is to encourage children to use mouth guards.

Mouth guards are protective devices that are worn over the teeth and gums to protect them from injury during sports and other physical activities. They are typically made from soft, flexible materials that conform to the shape of the teeth and gums, providing a cushion against impacts and reducing the risk of chipped, broken, or knocked-out teeth.

They come in different types and sizes, ranging from custom-fitted models made by dentists to over-the-counter options that can be purchased at sporting goods stores. Custom-fitted mouth guards are considered the gold standard because they are designed to fit the unique shape of a child's teeth and offer the best protection. However, even over-the-counter mouth guards can provide some degree of protection and are better than no mouthguard at all.

These are not just for contact sports like football or hockey. They are also important for sports like soccer, basketball, and gymnastics, where falls and collisions can still cause dental injuries. In addition, mouth guards can be helpful for children who grind their teeth or clench their jaws during sleep, providing a protective barrier against tooth damage.

Stay Hydrated

With the weather being hot and humid, it's important for kids to stay hydrated to avoid dehydration, which can have negative effects on their overall health, including dental health.

Dehydration can lead to a variety of dental problems, including dry mouth, which can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva plays an important role in oral health, as it helps to wash away food particles and neutralize harmful acids produced by bacteria in the mouth. When there is not enough saliva in the mouth, bacteria can thrive and cause dental problems.

To stay hydrated, children should drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when participating in physical activities or spending time outdoors. Children should aim to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day, and even more if they are sweating heavily or spending extended periods in the sun.

Parents can help their children stay hydrated by packing plenty of water when going out for the day, and reminding them to take frequent water breaks when playing sports or participating in other activities. Avoid sugary drinks like soda and juice, as these can actually dehydrate the body and increase the risk of tooth decay.

In addition to drinking plenty of water, eating foods with high water content can also help keep children hydrated. Foods like watermelon, cucumbers, and grapes are great options for keeping kids hydrated while also providing important vitamins and other nutrients.

Brush and Floss Regularly

Regular brushing and flossing help to remove food particles and bacteria from the teeth and gums, preventing the buildup of plaque. Allowing the build-up of plaque leads to tooth decay and gum disease. Kids should brush their teeth at least twice a day, using a fluoride-based toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. They should also floss at least once a day, to remove food particles and plaque from between their teeth.

 A child brushing their teeth with a red toothbrush.

Parents could also encourage good brushing and flossing habits by setting a good example and brushing and flossing with their kids. They can also make brushing and flossing fun by using colorful toothbrushes and floss picks or playing music during brushing time. Additionally, parents can remind their children to brush and floss after meals and snacks—especially if they have consumed sugary or acidic foods or drinks.

It's also important to make sure that kids are using the correct brushing technique. They should hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and use gentle circular motions to brush each tooth. They should also brush the tongue and roof of the mouth to remove bacteria that can cause bad breath.

Be Prepared for Dental Emergencies

Parents can be prepared for dental emergencies by having a dental first aid kit on hand. This kit should include items such as gauze, a small container with a lid, pain relievers, and a cold pack. If a tooth is knocked out, it should be placed in the container with some milk or saliva and brought to the dentist as soon as possible.

It's also important for parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of dental emergencies, such as severe toothache, bleeding gums, or a loose tooth. If a dental emergency occurs, parents should contact their child's dentist immediately for advice and to schedule an emergency appointment if necessary.

The summer months provide plenty of opportunities for kids to indulge in sweets and forget about their dental health. But with a few simple tips, parents can help their children maintain good oral hygiene and avoid any dental issues. At The Children's Dental Center, our experienced pediatric dentists are dedicated to providing high-quality dental care services for children. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and ensure your child's dental health is in good hands.

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