Summer is just around the corner, and when school lets out, many children enjoy a greater amount of freedom. This freedom usually involves swimming, more sports activities, and more access to a variety of beverages and snacks throughout the day. Some summertime behaviors can increase your child's risk of tooth decay, but here are five purchases you can make now that will mitigate that risk.
pH Testers and Proper Pool Chemicals
One of the biggest risks for summertime tooth decay may be lurking in your back yard or just around the corner. People who frequently swim in pools that are sanitized with chlorine run the risk of damaging their enamel. This is because the chlorine, when added in the wrong proportions, can increase the acidity of the water.
If you own a pool, and your child swims in it more than once or twice a week, you should consider investing in professional pool maintenance. If that is beyond your budget, you should at least have pH test strips and the proper chemicals to adjust the levels in your pool. If you are updating your pool this summer, or having a pool installed, consider one of the modern, chlorine-free options for maintaining your pool, and your children's teeth will thank you.
A Fitted Mouth Guard
Summer is a great season for sports. However, this puts your child at risk for objects flying at their face or falling, all of which can crack or loosen a tooth. If your child is active, think about taking them into the dentist to have a mouth guard fitted for them. Although this option is slightly more expensive than purchasing generic sports mouth guards, the fit will be more comfortable, which means that your child will be more likely to wear it.
A New Water Bottle
From lemonade and sweet tea to soda, summertime is notorious for sweet drinks. Unfortunately, constantly sipping on sugary drinks can increase the acid produced by the bacteria in your child's mouth, which ultimately leads to tooth decay.
To encourage your child to choose water over other drinks, let them pick out a new, reusable water bottle that they can keep filled. When you give them the water bottle, you should discuss proper oral hygiene and various drinks. Let them know that if they decide to drink a sugary drink, they should drink it over a short period of time, as opposed to sipping on it all day. You should also teach them to rinse their mouth with water when they are done drinking.
Since many children are home from school during the summer, they have the opportunity to constantly graze for snacks instead of eating three meals and one snack each day. Constant grazing can lead to tooth decay, but there are some snacks that will cause little harm or may actually decrease your child's risk.
You should make sure that your refrigerator is stocked with vegetables. Carrot sticks, celery, and olives are good choices for healthy teeth. Also, cheese helps balance the acidity levels in your child's mouth, so make sure you have some cheese squares in a snack container available as well.
A Professional Fluoride Treatment
Since you cannot be with your child every minute of every day, the best way you can protect their teeth is by preparing them for the situations they might face during the summer. This should involve educating your children about proper oral care and taking them to their dentist for a fluoride treatment before the season starts. While they are there, their hygienist can reinforce proper brushing habits and discuss any concerns you or your child may have.
For more summer dental care tips, contact a local dentist.