Five Simple Steps to Keep Teeth Healthy this Summer
Jul. 23, 2015
Many common summertime treats, such as soda pop, cotton candy and other high-sugar snacks can lead to tooth decay if consumed in excess. According to Dr. Rhea M. Haugseth, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a significant 50 percent of children aged 2 to 5 already have tooth decay. Satisfy your child’s sweet tooth by providing him or her with yummy, yet nutritious foods this summer. These tips will show you how.
1. LIMIT SWEET BEVERAGES
There’s no denying the importance of staying well-hydrated when the weather is hot. However, chilled beverages do not have to be limited to juice, soda, sports drinks and lemonade, which all have high concentrations of sugar that can lead to enamel erosion and tooth decay. Provide your child with plenty of water to quench his or her thirst. Add instant flavor to plain water by infusing it with chunks of fresh fruit.
2. PACK HEALTHY SNACKS WHILE TRAVELING
Many families vacation during the summer, which can make it difficult to gain access to healthy foods. Fortunately, there are many nutritious snack options that are portable and require minimal preparation. Bring along small bags of sliced apples, baby carrots, trail mix, celery sticks or string cheese. Freeze bottles of water to ensure that you have plenty of cold beverages during your trip.
3. LOOK FOR LOW-SUGAR SUBSTITUTES
Many of your child’s favorite summer snacks can be found in low-sugar varieties. Low-sugar popsicles, juice, funnel cakes, ice cream and other delicious treats carry a fraction of the sugar found in the originals, generally with the same great taste.
4. TAKE PRECAUTIONS DURING ACTIVITIES
From swimming and diving to contact sports like soccer, softball, and basketball, the risk of dental injuries is significant if the proper precautions are not taken. According to Delta Dental, swimmers who spend more than six hours a week in chemically-treated water are at risk for developing dark stains on their teeth. Changes in air pressure while diving can result in tooth or gum problems and jaw joint pain. Contact sports can also cause injury, so make sure your child wears a mouthguard while playing to help protect the teeth from damage.
5. RINSE WITH WATER
Brushing is not always an option when driving cross-country or roaming summer fairs and festivals. When you don’t have access to your regular brushing supplies, rinse your mouth with water frequently. Swigs of water help to flush away loose debris, food particles and bacteria present in the mouth and on the teeth. Rinsing can also help keep sugars at bay until the next time you have the chance to brush.