Excel Dental Blog

Parent’s Guide to Summer Oral Health

Parent’s Guide to Summer Oral Health

Ahhh, summer. Time for pool parties, BBQs, bonfires under the stars, and…

…re-evaluating your child’s oral health routine!

Of course, summer brings with it an abundance of sun and plenty of fun. It also brings an increase in outdoor activities and sugary beverages that can put your child’s oral health at risk. In fact, nearly 30 percent of parents say summer vacation is the most difficult time to get their children to keep up good oral health, according to Delta Dental. That’s why summer is the perfect mid-year checkpoint for re-evaluating your household’s current dental routine and adjusting as necessary for seasonal influences.

Below, we’ve compiled the top summertime threats to your child’s oral health. Read on to learn how you can combat these risks for a sunny smile all summer long!

Top Summertime Threats to Kids’ Oral Health

1.Sugary Foods & Carbonated Drinks

Popsicles, lemonade, ice cream sandwiches and sugary soda are all staples of the “summer diet.” As satisfying as these treats are on a hot summer day, they can wreak havoc on your child’s teeth. Sugary foods and carbonated beverages are one of the primary causes of cavities and decay.

Tip: Stock your pantry and fridge with healthy, tasty snacks that are easy to grab-and-go. Examples include apple slices and cheese, celery sticks with peanut butter and frozen banana slices. 

2. Dehydration

Dehydration is the result of of too much summer heat and a lack of quality fluids. Most people understand the dangers of dehydration to the body, but did you know that dehydration is also harmful to your teeth? Our teeth and gums depend on saliva to help keep them healthy; a dry mouth creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive.

Tip: Emphasize to your children the importance of staying hydrated, especially during physical activity. Pack a water bottle or two anytime you leave the house, because a source of water is not always guaranteed while on-the-go.

3. Outdoor Sports

Outdoor sports and activities are a given during the summer months. This is the time of year when children flock to playgrounds, sports parks and ball fields. An increase in physical activity outdoors, though, also increases the potential for accidents and injury.

Tip: We recommend always wearing a mouthguard when participating in outdoor activities—even if the activity doesn’t involve any physical contact. Mouthguards can protect teeth from accidentally being knocked out by a flailing elbow or fly ball. Your dental professionals here at Excel Dental in Ozark can help select a mouthguard with the perfect fit for your child.

4. Pooltime 

It’s simply not summer without a day at the pool. Fun at the pool can quickly turn into an emergency, though, when a slip on wet concrete results in a cracked, broken or lost tooth.

Tip: Discuss proper pool safety with your kids to avoid injuries that could compromise their oral health.

5. Later Bedtimes

Daily schedules often go awry during the activity-filled months of summer; kids tend to sleep in and stay up later. When normal AM and PM routines are thrown off, kids often forget to brush their teeth twice a day—or at all. 

Tip: Post a daily brushing chart in your home as a fun reminder to brush and floss twice daily. For every week of successful brushing and flossing, reward your kiddos to a special outing or healthy treat.

6. Sunburn

Don’t forget about your child’s lips! The skin on our lips is very sensitive to hazardous UV rays, which can burn the lips with extended, unprotected exposure.

Tip: Use a lip balm with SPF 15 or higher and apply liberally after every hour in the sun. Keep the balm close at hand this summer so you’re prepared for every afternoon baseball game, day at the pool or outdoor birthday party!

More Hot Summer Tips

Replace your family’s toothbrushes. Toothbrushes should be replaced approximately every three months. Replace your entire family’s toothbrushes during summer break and once again when back-to-school rolls around. Seasonal changes serve as a great reminder for dental health!

Schedule a dental checkup. Take advantage of when your child won’t have to miss school for their dental check-up. At your child’s appointment, a cleaning and cavity check will be performed along with an evaluation of overall oral health. At Excel Dental, we’ll also take the opportunity to educate your child on the importance of good brushing and flossing habits.

Smile on This Summer

Keep smiles shining this summer! Make an appointment for your child with Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews at Excel Dental. Find us in Ozark, Missouri—just a short 10 minute drive from Springfield.

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