Summertime Smiles – Tips for Your Kids’ Teeth

Did you know that children in the U.S. lose 51 million school hours each year due to dental pain? Here are some tips for the summer to make sure your child isn’t one of them next school year!

1. Get a Dental Checkup

Without all the crazy school schedules, summer is the perfect time to schedule your child’s dental checkup. Your child’s dentist will do a thorough exam, probably take X-rays, perform a thorough cleaning, and make recommendations on any needed treatment, such as filling cavities, extraction of wisdom teeth, or extraction of baby teeth that are not falling out fast enough. Your dentist may also recommend preventive measures such as fluoride treatments or the placement of sealants. Your dentist can answer questions you may have and provide your child with instruction on how to best take care of his or her smile. Also, if your children have Medicaid and are under the age of 21 they can get access to quality dental care through the Healthy Kids Dental program.

2. Prepare Healthy Snacks

Diet plays an important role in all parts of health and, of course, everything you eat goes past your teeth. Some snacks like chewy fruit snacks and snack cakes can get stuck in the pits of teeth and expose them to sugar for long periods of time. Here are some great healthy snack options for the summer:

  • Celery and flavored cream cheese
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Carrot sticks and ranch dip
  • Tortilla wraps — try cream cheese with sliced turkey
  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurt — try drinkable yogurts or freeze the tube yogurts
  • Crackers and cheese
  • Pretzels

Picking out healthy snacks can also help feed your child’s brain better, too! Be sure to also check out cool new products that are easy to carry in bags and pockets, such as single use flossers and mini toothbrushes!

3. Limit Soda Pop Consumption

While recent studies have made headlines showing that consumption of soda and sugary drinks are down overall, these same studies show that more than 60 percent of high school students consume sugar-sweetened beverages every day. Children should be educated on the health risks associated with regular consumption of soda pop, sports drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages — risks such as diabetes and obesity. Soda pop, sports drinks, and energy drinks also contain high levels of acid that erode the enamel on teeth. Provide plenty of access to healthy options such as milk, water, and 100% fruit juices.

4. Wear a Mouth Guard

Talk with your dentist about the right mouth guard for your child’s sports. A properly fitted mouth guard can prevent serious and sometimes irreparable injury to the teeth, gums, and jaw. Your child should wear a mouth guard while playing any contact sport or activities where falls are common, such as rollerblading. There are many different types of guards and options to fit every budget. Make sure your child keeps their bright smile!

5. Brush and Floss Daily

Before they venture outside for the day make sure your child brushes their teeth. It is recommended that children brush twice a day for 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste—and make sure they don’t forget to get in between their teeth by flossing daily too!