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Your Kids’ Dental Health: Keep Them Safe This Summer

Creative Commons image by oshokim (Flickr).
Creative Commons image by oshokim (Flickr).

To a child, summer is teeming with potential. There’s swimming at the pool, plenty of ice cream cones, impromptu games of football at a neighborhood field, and many more pleasures of the season. As a parent, you want your child to have fun and to be safe at the same time. While you are probably vigilant about seatbelts and helmets, you might not be aware of the summertime hazards to your child’s dental health. Here are some ways to keep those summer smiles healthy and happy all season long.

Brush, Floss, Repeat

Long summer days often equal kids staying up past their school-night bedtimes, and they likely come in sticky and sweaty from their fun in the sun. It’s tempting to let them fall into bed and deal with the dirt in the morning, but make sure they are brushing their teeth! Cavities can start quickly, particularly after kids have indulged in ice cream, popsicles and campfire s’mores. If your kids are off to sleepaway camp this summer, talk to them about the importance of brushing their teeth before bed.

While it’s usually best to floss in the evening (so all food particles are removed from between the teeth before you go to sleep), you can switch to morning flossing for your children if they’re too tired to floss effectively before bed. Flossing at any time of day is better than no flossing at all.

Stress Swimming Safety

Kids should know the basics of pool safety, such as that they should always swim with a partner and that there needs to be an adult in the vicinity of the pool to watch young ones. They should also know not to dive off of the side of a shallow pool. Encourage your kids to be very careful with jumping and not to engage in horseplay near the edges of the pool. Many a tooth has been knocked loose from impact with the pool deck. Have kids walk (as opposed to running) on pool decks and to use the pool ladder to get in and out to avoid injury

Guard Those Teeth

If you have your kids in league or school-sponsored sports, chances are great that they wear the appropriate mouth protection. If yours are playing sandlot baseball or other potentially dangerous-to-the-teeth sports during the summer, insist on them wearing their mouth guards. If you don’t have a mouth guard, the type from any discount store (the boil and bite kind) can provide protection and aren’t very expensive.

Taking the steps to protect your kids’ dental health can go a long way toward keeping the summer happy and keeping you out of the dentist’s office when you’d rather be lounging at the pool.