Summertime means lazy days at the pool and busy afternoons at the baseball diamond. Concession stands and snack shacks tempt us with sticky sweets and sugary beverages, but it's important for kids and parents to know that even in these settings, they can still make choices and use strategies that will protect their kids' dental health and counteract tooth decay!
Summertime is also a great time for routine checkups, when kids are out of school and schedules are slightly easier. Request an appointment online.
Dr. Chris Haag, a dentist with First Choice Dental Group says, "Even with sweets and sugary choices, there are still simple steps you can take to prevent tooth decay and cavities." She says "Drink water and choose snacks that promote saliva formation, which is a washing agent for your teeth. It's also important to think about when and how you consume your treats and beverages." Dr. Haag suggests these simple tips that allow you to still enjoy some of summer's tempting treats, while taking good care of your dental health - and your body too!
- Water is the number one drink choice. It promotes saliva formation and helps rinse acid and bacteria that form in your mouth. Sugar and bacteria combine to form this acid that attacks the teeth and causes tooth decay.
- Sip with a straw. If your child does choose a sugary beverage such as soda, drinking with a straw helps keep the sugar away from the teeth. Also drink it in one sitting, with a meal. If you sip a soda all day, the sugar stays in your mouth and promotes decay. Acid attacks the teeth with every sip of soda or sugary beverage, so follow with plenty of water to rinse your mouth.
- Read labels. Consider your soda, juice and sports drink choices. Most are packed with sugar. Check out this listing of sodas' sugar and acid content.
- Sweet senses! It can be tough to pass up the candy at the snack shack. Dr. Haag suggests moderation is the key. If you do have a treat, consider a chocolate bar or ice-cream sandwich eaten in one sitting, instead of a pack of sticky candies such as licorice, starbursts, or laffy taffy eaten throughout the day, which create multiple acid attacks on your teeth with every bite. If possible, stick to popcorn and pretzels, as they also encourage saliva formation that will help rinse your mouth.
- Pack protein! Dr. Haag says, "Protein is an excellent buffer against acid, so packing nuts, cheeses, and turkey sandwiches is a great way to counteract the not-so-healthy choices kids make." The same is true for fruits and vegetables that have high water content. Apples, pears, and celery are excellent choices to help rinse bacteria from your mouth.
- Chew Away! Chewing is good for your mouth and your teeth. If you have a sugary snack, combine it with a meal and drink plenty of water. Dr. Haag also suggests chewing sugarless gum to promote saliva, which helps rinse the mouth.
Finally, Dr. Haag understands that schedules vary in the summer as kids stay up later and routines change. "Even so," she says, "it's important to keep your good dental hygiene habits, and it's especially important to brush your teeth right before bed!" She says, "When you're on the go, supplement your snack shack choices with nuts and cheeses from home. Pack plenty of water bottles and sugarless gum - you can keep your teeth healthy and still enjoy some of the sweets that summer offers."
Summertime is also a great time for routine checkups, when kids are out of school and schedules are slightly easier. Request an appointment online or visit Our Locations to see which of our 10 offices is most conveniently located near you.