Fun in the Sun: Protecting Kids’ Teeth During Summer Activities

Summer fun sometimes equals summer mayhem. The kids are out of school. Their activities may have changed, but are most likely still going strong. Your vacation times are probably in the summer, too. All this means your structured lifestyle takes a hit. Sometimes the routines kids had during the school year fall by the wayside. Revisit your family’s oral health care routines.

Reinforce Good Habits

The best way to reinforce positive behavior is to set the example yourself. Kids, at least the younger ones, want to emulate their hero – you! By the time they start asserting their independence, the good habits will be ingrained and help carry them through. Think up your own creative incentives to reinforce healthy habits.

According to Colgate®, parents tend to schedule kids’ dental checkups in late summer, just before they head back to school. They recommend you schedule checkups at the beginning of summer, as a preventive measure. The last thing you or your child wants is a toothache while they’re at camp or away on vacation. This way, you also beat the August rush.

Summer Activity Safety

Kids in school sports learn the importance of mouth guards and helmets, but non-school activities can pose risks to teeth, tongues, jaws, and even necks as well. Colgate advises a mouth guard is “a must when you play any type of sport that involves bats, balls, sticks, or person-to-person contact.” A custom mouth guard is a good investment. It can cost 20 times more than that to replace a lost tooth. Mouth guards and activity-appropriate helmets are an expected expense for many school sports but could also be of benefit for in-line skaters, skateboarders, mountain bikers . . . you get the idea.

Are You Really What You Eat?

The short answer? Yes! This phrase has been around as early as 1923. What it means is your mind and body reflect the kinds of foodstuffs you ingest. While playing in the sun, you and your kids are likely to drink more liquids than in colder weather. Staying hydrated is a good thing, but doing it with high-sugar soft drinks can damage teeth. Bottled water is good for hydration, but you and your kids miss out on the fluoride found in most community tap water. Chewing on ice is another risk factor for damaging teeth. Opt for crushed ice instead of cubes. Drinking through a straw can help minimize tooth stains from colas, as well as sports and energy drinks. Follow drinking them with a good rinse or brush your teeth.

We at Gallatin Valley Pediatric Dentistry wish the best for you and yours during your fun-in-the-sun season, and we look forward to working with you to maintain your children’s oral health. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns at 406-587-2327 or online here.