Caring for kids’ teeth is important all year round. With a less structured schedule and children spending more time on their own – whether it’s at camp or sleepovers with friends – it’s especially important in summer months. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy with some simple changes.
Check out our dentists’ five recommendations for caring for kids’ teeth this summer, then call Carmichael Dental Care at 334-600-1423 if you have any questions for us or need to schedule an appointment. (The recommendations are good for adult teeth too!)
Keep Smart Snack Choices on Hand
It’s easier for kids to snack more when they’re not in school. So it’s important to keep your kitchen stocked with healthy choices. We recommend:
- Nuts – Many nuts contain calcium and phosphorus, minerals that help keep teeth strong and can even help restore enamel that has been weakened by acidic substances. Chewing nuts also encourages the production of saliva, a natural cavity fighter. Nuts are a great alternative to chips, which contain starches that your body quickly turns into sugar.
- Fruits and Vegetables – Fresh fruits and veggies are a great choice for summer snacking. They’re an easy and tasty way to stay hydrated, which is important in hot, sticky weather. Foods like carrots, celery, and apples are almost like natural toothbrushes; they contain high amounts of fiber and water, which help remove particles of other foods.
- Cheese and Other Dairy Products – These foods contain calcium, phosphorus and casein, all of which help strengthen tooth enamel. They also help neutralize the acid produced by bacteria and promote a healthier pH level in your mouth.
Be Careful of ‘Healthy’ Drinks
You no doubt know soda is bad for your kids’ teeth – and yours too – because of its high concentration of sugar and acids. Even sugar-free diet sodas are high in acid, which destroys tooth enamel. Because of this, it’s best to limit your soda consumption.
Yet you also need to watch your family’s consumption of drinks that may seem healthier yet are filled with sugar. Take a look at the labels of juices and sports drinks; you may be surprised at their high sugar content. Lemonade, a popular summer drink, has lots of acid and sugar too. Your best choices for drinks are water and lowfat milk.
Protect Your Children’s Teeth From Athletic Injuries
Caring for your kids’ teeth doesn’t just mean protecting them from cavities. It also means protecting them from athletic injuries. If your children play sports, they should wear mouthguards. Our dentists fit them for custom mouthguards, which offer a fit superior to those purchased from a sporting goods store. A comfortable fit is the most important feature of a mouthguard; without it, your child may leave their mouthguard on the sidelines instead of wearing it.
Go Ahead and Get Dental Exams
With activities like vacations and camps, we understand the temptation to postpone your family’s dental checkups. Don’t do it! Caring for your kids’ teeth almost always gets more complicated when school starts. During exams, we also clean your family’s teeth to help prevent cavities. We may also recommend preventive care like dental sealants and/or fluoride for some family members.
Monitor Chlorine Exposure
If your kids spend a lot of time in the pool, you may notice negative effects of chlorine exposure in their dry, discolored hair. It can do a number on their teeth too. Treatment with chlorine and other chemicals makes pool water highly acidic. Like other acids, it can erode tooth enamel, weakening your children’s teeth and making them more prone to cavities. It can also dry out their mouths, which makes their teeth more susceptible to decay.
If kids are swimming in your pool, adjusting the chlorine level can help. Shoot for a pH level of about 7.5. Keep plenty of water on hand and have them rinse their mouths out with water when they exit the pool.
Caring for kids’ teeth doesn’t have to be a big deal. We’re happy to help any way we can! Call Carmichael Dental Care at 334-600-1423 if you need to make an appointment in Montgomery, AL.