Summertime is finally here! For many families that means school is out and kids are home on summer break. While most parents prepare for summer activities with sunscreen, bug spray, and first aid kits, it’s important to consider your child’s dental health as well. Below are some tips for keeping your kids’ smiles healthy this summer.
Keep up Good Oral Hygiene Amidst Schedule Changes
With schedules changing from school days to time at the beach, pool, summer camp, and vacation, it can be easy to fall out of our usual dental care routines. Encourage your children to keep up their healthy habits despite the shift in schedules. It’s ok if that’s at 7:00 am before swim practice or at 9:30 pm after enjoying s’mores as long as they are brushing twice and flossing at least once per day!
You can also put our office goodie bags to good use by pulling together the travel size dental essentials (toothpaste, floss, toothbrush, mouthwash) and creating a portable travel bag for your children that can easily be transferred from their swim bag to overnight bag as needed.
On a long road trip without a brushing opportunity on the horizon? Be sure to drink water instead of sugary drinks and sodas and try to rinse after eating to help remove any starches or acids from your teeth.
The Beginning of Summer is the Best Time to Schedule Your Child’s Check-up
According to a 2015 survey conducted by Delta Dental on U.S. students, more than 30 percent of parents said their children between the ages of 6 and 12 had to miss school due to an oral health problem. Make life easier and schedule dental check-ups during summer vacation when you don’t have to coordinate with their academic calendar.
Many parents wait until August to schedule their children’s check-ups before the start of the school year, the beginning of the summer is actually the best time to get your kids scheduled. By having Dr. McCauley clear your children of any issues before the start of summer, you can relax knowing you won’t have any dental surprises during a weekend camping trip or while you’re out of town. If there are any issues to address, it’s easier to take care of them during the summer instead of when you’re getting organized for a new school year.
Prevent Dental Emergencies
We know summer means more time outside playing basketball, baseball, swimming, biking, and enjoying other outdoor sports. While all these activities are part of the fun of summer, they can unfortunately result in a dental injury. Here’s some tips to prevent some common accidents.
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many summer oral injuries are the result of a pool accident. Your kids may roll their eyes at the pool rules of “no running on the deck” or “no excessive horseplay” but slippery decks and hard ledges present two opportunities to chip or knock a tooth loose. Remind your children why the rules are in place and encourage them to play and swim safely.
Feel like you’ve spend your summer at the pool? Don’t be surprised if you notice discoloration on your children’s teeth. Swimmers who spend more than six hours a week in chemically treated water may be at risk for developing stains on their teeth. Pool water contains chemicals that give the water a higher pH than saliva. As a result, salivary proteins break down quickly and form organic deposits on teeth. These hard, brown deposits, known as “swimmers’ calculus,” appear most frequently on the front teeth. Parents should be aware but not alarmed; swimmers’ calculus can normally be removed by a professional dental cleaning.
Know how to React When Accidents Happen
Despite our best efforts, accidents happen! It’s important to know what to do in case of a dental emergency to minimize your child’s pain, chance of infection, and increase their chances of a quick recovery. If your child chips or loses a tooth, first clean the area with warm water and apply an ice pack to reduce the swelling. Apply gauze to stop any bleeding, clean the tooth of any debris, check the orientation of the tooth, and try to replace a lost permanent tooth back in the mouth. If that’s not an option, use saltwater or milk to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist. It’s important to get to the dentist’s office as quickly as you can so they can assess the tooth and take immediate action.
I also recommends a dental emergency kit to take with you on your summer adventures. It can be as simple as a bag that includes gauze, a small container with a lid, ibuprofen, and our office contact information (425) 354-3138 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your summer and comment below to let us know about your summer travels!
Dr. Amanda McCauley, DDS