It’s summertime, which means your child will most likely be exposed to more cavity-causing foods such as pop, popsicles, and ice cream than they are during the school year. However, during all the summer fun, it’s important to make sure that your child is taking care of their teeth so they don’t have a mouthful of cavities come September.
As a Grand Rapids pediatric dentistry, we take our responsibility toward children’s dental health seriously and offer our easy-to-follow dental hygiene tips for parents to make sure your child’s smile stays happy and healthy.
1. Pack a Toothbrush for Overnight Visits
If your child is sleeping over at a friend’s house or visiting grandma for the weekend, make sure that their children’s toothbrush and toothpaste is packed. Remind your child before they go that brushing their teeth is important, especially for trips that last more than one night.
If you’re worried grandma won’t enforce teeth brushing, we recommend buying your child an inexpensive toothbrush with their favorite character on it. This can provide an incentive for them to try out their new toothbrush during their weekend away.
2. Keep Bedtime Routines Consistent while Traveling
During the fun and excitement of a summer trip, it can be easy for a child to forget to brush their teeth. At the end of a long day of sightseeing, make sure you remind your child when it’s time to brush their teeth once you get back to the hotel room.
Sometimes it can be hard for children to stick to routines when in a new place. This is why we recommend laying your child’s toothbrush and toothpaste out on the bathroom counter as a reminder for them to brush their teeth. Make sure to keep other parts of your nighttime routine consistent to help them remember when it’s time to brush their teeth.
3. Limit Sweets
Nothing attracts a child’s attention more than the siren call of an ice cream truck. (Who can blame them?) With the way ice cream trucks target communities and apartment complexes, we understand how it can be easy for children to give in to their sweet tooth. However, skipping the ice cream truck will help prevent childhood cavities and save you money.
As the parent, you have control over what foods find their way into your grocery cart. Save the really sugary foods for special events, such as the Fourth of July or a family member’s birthday. Learning that sweets are a “sometimes food” is one of the best life lessons you can give your child.
If your child has a stubborn sweet tooth, you can substitute the really sugary stuff for all-fruit popsicles or yogurt in fun flavors such as root beer or strawberry cheesecake. Be sure to talk to our pediatric dentists for more advice on limiting sweets.
4. Don’t Overdo Snacks
It’s only natural to want to make sure your children are getting enough to eat. However, make sure that you aren’t giving your children too many snacks throughout the day. During the school year, snacking is naturally limited by class schedules, but without those restrictions it’s easy to go overboard.
Believe us when we say your children will let you know when they’re hungry. When they sound the alarm, then you can bring out the snacks. Our experienced pediatric dentists can give you suggestions for healthy snacks.
5. Be Aware of Dental Emergencies
When kids play outside and roughhouse during the summer, it’s possible that your child might experience an oral injury such as chipping or losing a tooth. If this happens, don’t panic. Our pediatric dentists can help.
Call Our Office Today!
If you are interested in our pediatric dental services, please feel free to give our Grand Rapids pediatric dentists a call at (616) 942-9840. Dr. Kingma and Dr. Randall are dedicated to helping parents teach their children healthy oral habits that will last a lifetime.
[This blog post has been updated.]