For most kids, summer vacation is one of the best times of the year. However, warm weather and plenty of outdoor activities can mean a very busy schedule. Even though summer vacation seems like a relaxing time, summer camps, family vacations, extracurriculars and other social activities can result in an overwhelming schedule of fun. The hot weather also means kids turn to sugary treats like ice cream, popsicles and marshmallows. With busy days full of fun activities and delicious treats, kids are often so tired by the end of the day that they fall asleep on the way home and are too grouchy for tooth brushing. So, how can you protect kids’ teeth during these busy summer months? In this blog post we propose some helpful tips and tricks for maximizing your summer fun, while still prioritizing your children’s oral health. Childhood sets the foundation for a lifelong healthy mouth, and it’s a great idea to help kids establish their own oral health habits from an early age. Don’t let the busy summer push aside your oral health care routine, use this opportunity to establish lifelong healthy dental habits.
How to Keep Teeth Healthy in the Summer
Stick to Low-Sugar Drinks
In the summer, it can be tempting to reach for an ice-cold soda or high-sugar juice box, especially when you’re tired from a day of fun outdoor activities. However, high-sugar drinks are significant contributors to childhood cavities. At Mackenzie Dental, we recommend sticking to low-sugar drinks such as delicious homemade fruit smoothies. An excellent way to get extra fruit and veggie servings, kids love smoothies and their low-sugar content make them a great choice for protecting teeth. Other great options include natural fruit and veggie-based beverages that don’t have any added sugar, and fruit or vegetable juice with pulp can add an excellent source of fibre to your diet. Finally, the best low-sugar drink that can help you and your children stay hydrated is water! Tap water, filtered water and sparkling water are all great options depending on your preferences. When looking for a hydrating beverage, avoid sugary sports drinks and turn to water. In terms of offering protection for your teeth, tap water is especially beneficial due to the added fluoride, which strengthens teeth.
Munch on Low-Sugar Snacks
When it comes to protecting your teeth, it’s important to avoid excessive sugary foods. Both high-sugar drinks and high-sugar snacks contribute significantly to cavities and poor oral health. In the summer, many kids crave ice cream, popsicles and other high-sugar snacks. As the summer starts to get busy, it’s important to have healthy, low-sugar snacks available to help protect kids’ teeth. Some convenient, healthy options include whole, fresh fruit such as apples or pears. Low-sugar fruits help clean teeth without leaving a residue and chewing on apples can help stimulate the gums and decrease the number of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. This is also true for fresh cut vegetables like celery, carrots and cauliflower. It is well known that crunchy, water-based foods like vegetables are excellent natural tooth cleaners. Both fruits and veggies help stimulate saliva production in the mouth, which can also reduce the number of cavity-causing bacteria. Finally, cheese and nuts are protein-filled options to keep kids full and clean teeth of any residue after eating. The best way to protect kids’ health and teeth is to ensure they have a variety of low-sugar snacks available to fuel all their summer adventures.
Clean on the Go
One of the best ways to help your kids protect their teeth during the busy summer months is to ensure you are cleaning frequently. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to brush your teeth every time you eat, but even rinsing your mouth with water between snacks can be beneficial. Rinsing with water is also a great opportunity to encourage kids to continue drinking water and help them stay hydrated. Other great kid-friendly options include chewing sugar-free gum, which can help clean teeth of residue between meals if you are unable to brush while you are out during the day. Of course, the best way to keep your kids’ teeth clean on busy days is to keep a to-go brush handy and brush teeth whenever possible between meals and especially after eating sugary or sticky foods. You and your family should follow these tips in addition to maintaining your regular oral health care routine, including brushing and flossing in the morning and evening and regularly visiting a dentist every six months.
Book Checkups While School is Out
With the extra time away from school, summer is a great time to book a dental checkup for your entire family. Getting an early checkup can help your dentist find issues and cavities before they can get worse over the course of the summer. By booking a checkup for the whole family, you can help minimize the amount of time your kids will have to take off during the school year, ensuring you can prioritize both their oral health and education.
The summer is an exciting and busy time for kids and families. With a full schedule of fun in the sun, it’s important to prioritize oral health and overall well-being. Keeping healthy and low-sugar snacks and drinks handy can help encourage kids to develop good eating habits. Maintaining oral health on the go can also be simplified by frequently rinsing with water, chewing sugar-free gum and brushing with a to-go brush whenever possible. When it comes to booking your family for your next checkup, trust the friendly and experienced team at Mackenzie Dental Centre. We can help with any of your oral care needs, providing cleaning, checkup, and cosmetic services. Whether you are looking to learn about orthodontic options for your kids or get your regular checkup, Mackenzie Dental Centre is here to help! Contact us at 905-417-8700 to kickstart your family’s oral health today.