While your Tigard family dentist hopes that all of our school-aged patients at Tigard Family Dental have a fun and relaxing summer vacation, it’s important that kids still practice quality oral hygiene between trips to the beach or while at summer camp.
Remembering to practice good brushing and flossing habits becomes slightly more difficult during the summer versus during the school year when things are a little more regimented. Kids fall into a routine of getting up, eating breakfast, brushing before school, and then again before heading off to bed. Since bedtimes and schedules become a little more fluid during the summer months, kids can easily find themselves forgetting to brush when caught up in all of the fun.
Unfortunately, summer break doesn’t offer a convenient time to let your kids’ oral habits lapse. Tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and bad breath don’t take the summer off. To help keep your kids healthy and looking their best on school photo day, here are a few tips parents can use to make sure their kids take care of their oral health this summer.
Keep a routine, not a schedule. The typical nine-month school year usually creates a pretty rigid schedule. While you don’t need to implement a rigorous summer schedule to keep your kids regimented, it’s helpful to develop a daily routine they can follow. This includes reminding your kids that even though they don’t have homework and are staying up late, they still need to take care of their oral health by brushing and flossing.
Keep your kids hydrated. The summer brings warmer temperatures and kids are more likely to participate in outdoor activities. Keeping your kids hydrated ranks as an important part of staying healthy and maintaining how the body functions. This includes the mouth. Drinking lots of water can help prevent dry mouth, which can increase the risk of such oral problems as gum disease, tooth decay, bad breath, oral sores, and gingivitis. Excessive dry mouth can even cause taste buds to quit working, making those sweet summer treats a lot less enjoyable.
Keep an eye on what your kids drink. While guarding against dehydration is important, don’t make the mistake of hydrating your kids with sports drinks. These types of beverages are loaded with artificial sweeteners and acids that erode away tooth enamel and increase the risk of cavities. Some brands of sports drinks contain just as much sugar as a bottle of soda, and are designed to be consumed by high performance athletes – not children. Instead of carrying a bottle of Gatorade to the park, pack a bottle of water for your kids. Not only is water a healthier alternative to sports drinks when it comes to hydrating your child, it also does more to protect his or her oral health.
Kids spend much of the year looking forward to summer break. While your Tigard family dentist hopes that every summer brings the kind of healthy fun your kids desire, we also hope that parents will take the time to remember the importance of quality oral hygiene.