During the school year, it’s easier to help your kids maintain their dental health. You and your kids get into the routine of brushing and flossing, plus, there are fewer opportunities to indulge in sugary snacks and beverages. With three months of free time, it can be easy to let things slide, but it doesn’t take long for plaque to build up and lead to cavities. To help keep your kids’ teeth healthy over summer vacation, our dentists in Cary are sharing how to avoid common dental health pitfalls.
Brushing Twice a Day and Flossing Once a Day
The most important thing for your kids to do to keep their teeth healthy and avoid cavities and gingivitis is to remember to brush twice a day and floss once. Create a morning routine or a checklist so that no matter what time your child gets up and moving, they’ll still follow the basics. This is also a good time to add a chore, too so consider something like this:
- Get dressed
- Have breakfast
- Brush teeth
- Feed pets
The evening is a bit easier because brushing and flossing their teeth after their bath and putting on pajamas is probably very similar to their evening routines during the school year.
Avoiding Sugary Snacks
During the school year, there are limited opportunities for snacking, but over the summer, snacks are more easily available. However, sugary snacks, including popsicles, candy, and ice cream, can speed up the development of cavities and tooth decay if they become more than an occasional treat. Instead, provide a wide variety of snacks that support healthy teeth and place them where they are easily accessible to your kids. Some great options include:
- Carrot sticks
- String cheese
- Celery sticks with peanut or almond butter
- Yogurt (low sugar when possible)
Crunchy fruits and vegetables, as well as almonds, have vitamins and minerals that are good for dental health, but they also “scrub” the teeth to remove debris and plaque, making them a good option for between meals. Yogurt and string cheese are also good because the calcium helps strengthen tooth enamel.
Avoiding Sodas and Sugary Drinks
During summer, it’s easy to reach for sugary drinks when it’s hot outside, such as soda, lemonade, or kool-aid, but these drinks bathe your children’s teeth in sugar. As a once in a while treat, lemonade or soda isn’t so bad, but like candy and ice cream, frequently having them increases your children’s risk of cavities and decay.
Instead, having your child drink plenty of water is the best option. Not only will this keep them hydrated on hot days when they’re playing outside, but water is also excellent for dental health. It keeps teeth rinsed in between eating, removing food particles and debris, and it stimulates the production of saliva. Drinking tap water is particularly beneficial because it includes fluoride that remineralizes teeth and strengthens enamel. If plain water isn’t appealing to your child, consider a sparkling, flavored seltzer or adding berries or sliced melon to their water to add a little boost of flavor without all the sugar.
Schedule a Dental Checkup for Your Child Today
If you are concerned about your child’s dental health or it’s time for them to have a teeth cleaning and checkup, schedule an appointment for pediatric dentistry at Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry today. Call us at our Holly Springs dentist office at (919) 600-6262 and our Cary, NC dentist office at (919) 467-2203, or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.