Dr Mandeep Kaur
Summer sun brings summer fun. While warm months are perfect for spending time together, summer vacations can also throw off your usual dental routine. Ways to prevent summer time tooth decay are as follows:
Stay on a routine
Whether your kids are staying up to catch fireflies or a firework show, resist the temptation to skip brushing before a late bedtime or let it slide when they sleep in the next morning. Don’t forget your smile over the summer. It is important for families to regularly brush and floss, which keep kids on track for healthy back to back dental visits.
No matter how eventful the upcoming months become, supervise that they are brushing twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Simple things like brushing calendars can help everyone stay on track over the summer. Plus it’s a chance to spend more time together. Brushing alongside your children for two minutes, twice a day during summers gives you few extra hours together, so make most of it.
Say no to sugary drinks and snacks
As temperature rises, it is common for the families to sip and snack during sports tournaments, festivals or nearly any community event. Watch your family intake of lemonade, juice and soda. Consider sugary drinks treat to enjoy once a while and not often. Instead offer water to beat the heat or milk to drink with meals. And don’t let summer time grazing damage your child’s smile. Taking a break from snacking is healthy for your teeth. It allows time for saliva to bathe the teeth, wash away leftover food and get stronger.
If you find spending more time at home, snack smarter and let your children tell you when they are hungry instead of offering snacks throughout the day. They are not afraid to let you know when they want something to eat. Keep the fridge stocked with cheeses, yogurts and fresh fruits and vegetables, such as berries, apples and carrots; these are nutritious foods that the kids can quickly grab on the go.
Enforce pool and sports safety
For most families, heading to the pool is a great way to spend a summer day. While swimming, children can hit the concrete ledge of the pool, breaking or loosening their front teeth. And running on slippery pool decks or diving into shallow water are serious accidents waiting to happen. So, give your kids a list of rules to follow while at the pool to keep their teeth safe.
If an accident does happen, get to the dentist right away. In the meantime, if a tooth has been knocked loose, gently move it into its original position and use light finger pressure to keep it in place until you get to the dentist. If a tooth has been knocked out of the mouth completely, put it in a container with a lid and keep it moist with milk, saliva or saline solution. To save the tooth, get to the dentist as soon as possible. If your family is active in sports, don’t let your mouthguard down just because it’s summer. Sports injuries usually involve broken or chipped front teeth, fractured roots and cut lips. But by wearing a mouthguard when playing contact sports like football or soccer, you can prevent these accidents.
Make your back to school dental visit early
Some schools require back to school dental visit for certain grades and these checkups can be a good way to be sure your children teeth stayed healthy. It is a good idea to make your child’s back to school appointment early in the summer to avoid the rush and help insure you get the appointment time that works best for you.
(The author is Assistant Professor Dept of Oral Pathology & Microbiology Indira Gandhi Govt Dental College Jammu)
Dr Mandeep Kaur