Sunshine, pool time, sleeping in, and hanging with friends. These are some things kids look forward to in the summer months. Change of schedule is exciting and fun, but also brings some challenges with oral health. The ADA recommends three tips for staying on track during the time off school: routine, limiting sugary snacks and scheduling back to school cleaning appointments. A change in sleeping schedule – whether being up late, sleeping in, or being on vacation often leads to a disruption in brushing teeth at night or in the morning. All these qualities of summer can make it the hardest season on your and your child’s teeth.
It can be hard to keep up the good school year habits but is important to do. Summer time often brings more of another hurdle: snacking. It is known that frequency of snacking is a more influential factor than the amount of sugar in foods. So to keep those pearly whites healthy over the summer months, snacking between meals should be limited, as well as increasing the water consumption and choosing healthy, low sugar foods.
As much as I love Doritos and other chips in the summer time, they are high in carbohydrates; which the bacteria in your mouth love just as much to create cavities. Same goes with the high sugar content in lots of pop, juices, and sports drinks. Flavored sparkling water is a new favorite, but many types of those are sneaky and high in sugar as well. If you enjoy any of these in the summer time, it is better to drink them in one sitting rather than sipping all day long (and in moderation of course).
Last but not least, as the summer months come to an end and kids are getting anxious to go back to school (and probably more the parents), scheduling cleaning appointments is important to make sure the summer treated your child’s teeth well.