When sweet summer treats meet a slipping summer schedule, it can mean a disaster for your family’s disciplined routine, as well as their oral health! With a bit of planning and a few parenting hacks, you can have a sweet summer without the toothache!
Let’s take a look at some common summer break pitfalls and steps you can take for a cavity-free vacation!
Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
If you’ll be going out of town this summer, locate an emergency dentist in the area before you leave. Understand how to get there, and know whether your insurance covers the provider.
Review pool, bike, and sports safety rules with your children, and be sure they have well-fitting mouthguards and helmets to ensure that all possible precautions are taken. If, however, your child acts like a child, accidents are likely to happen! They happen to us, and we’ve been walking, biking, and swimming far longer than they have!
If a tooth is knocked loose, try to have your child hold it in their mouth or drop it into a cup of milk before calling us up for an emergency appointment. There is a chance we can save a tooth, if proper steps have been taken. Chipped teeth need to be promptly treated to avoid further damage, and to address the pain as quickly as possible. We love our patients, and we never want them suffering, especially if they don’t have to!
Review and Replace
At least once this summer, be sure you’ve replaced your children’s’ toothbrushes. Replace it again at the start of the school year, and after any cold or illness. It’s impossible to keep teeth clean with a dirty toothbrush!
Older teens coming home from college, teens with busy sports and social schedules, and little ones with school and helping their parents run errands all over town now have a little more free time to take a fresh approach to dental care, and a full exam, x-rays, and care review are the perfect way to get on track!
If your child is entering Kindergarten or junior high, most schools require proof of a checkup within 2 to 4 months from the beginning of the school year. Try to make your appointment before we hit the August rush!
Even if your school doesn’t require it, it’s an excellent idea to make an appointment during the break for your child. Taking out the scheduling conflicts of class means that it will be easier to take the time with your child to really review proper technique, assess where they may be falling short in brushing and flossing, and to address it with a casual, no-pressure approach.
Your kids are about to watch way more television and play way more video games than you would normally like them to. This is not the point in this blog where we lecture you about controlling screen time for your children. Sometimes it’s the only time YOU get to shower, read, work, workout, or enjoy a meal with two hands to yourself. We understand.
Rather than strictly monitoring how much time your children are spending in front of a screen (we know you’ll set limits you’re comfortable with) try scheduling specific No-Screen zones. Time block breaks and plan activities during the day. A trip to the zoo, the pool, the park, crafting, or helping with chores will give your children time to refocus.
One suggestion is not to allow snacking during screen time. When your child (or you, or your spouse) are not engaged with what you’re eating, it’s easy to overindulge or mindlessly eat. This can be a disaster for your health, your grocery budget, and your dinner when you realize that the cheese you’d set aside has been eaten by the handful while your child played Minecraft.
Your child’s bedtime routine is fairly sacred, ensuring a good night’s sleep and healthy habits every time they manage to get teeth brushed, story read, and into pajamas by 8pm. Bedtime tends to stretch, or fall away all together when the school year ends. While allowing a later curfew or bedtime is just as sacred a summertime tradition, your child is losing a lot more than an hour of sleep every night.
When you let go of the bedtime routine, you’re also likely losing the bedtime hygiene routine. If you are letting bedtime slide, be sure that you’re still setting a hard limit on kitchen hours, shutting down snacking by 9pm and ensuring that teeth are brushed and nothing besides water is consumed once the kitchen has closed.
Some of the best treats ripen in the summer! Fill your home with watermelon, peaches, cantaloupe, strawberries, and apples to keep your children hydrated during the hot summer months, and to keep that sweet tooth satisfied!
To save money on produce, and to shake up the snack routine, try buying “last chance” fruits. Many shops and farmer’s markets sell “ugly” or overripe fruits at a deep discount to help avoid waste. Freeze these fruits and use them to make delicious, vitamin packed smoothie bowls and homemade healthy ice creams.
Sweet drinks can stay on your teeth for hours, and every minute your child’s teeth are exposed, they’re losing precious enamel. Do your best to avoid soft drinks and sugary juices. The moment of refreshing flavor isn’t worth the hours of irreversible damage!
It’s impossible to plan a truly stress-free summer. This is still real life, and real life comes with emergencies, last minute assignments, unexpected bills, and arguments. Making sure that we’re getting the most out of the moments in between makes the harder moments easier for us all to breeze by!
Thank you for letting the team at West Maple be part of your sweet summer memories!