Dentists offer six tips for healthy teeth this summer

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Now that school is officially out for children, dentists at Kool Smiles offices across the United States are sending an important message to parents: Don’t take a break from dental health this summer! To ensure that children maintain healthy and happy smiles all summer long, Kool Smiles dentists are sharing six helpful tips with families to keep their children’s dental health in check.

“Good dental health is especially important during the summer, when sugar-filled treats like ice cream and soda are in high demand,” said Dr. Dale Mayfield, Chief Dental Officer for Kool Smiles. “We know it can be especially hard for parents to get kids to stick to a routine during the summer months, but regular brushing and flossing, along with healthy eating and dental checkups every six months, are the best ways to prevent cavities and avoid other health problems down the road.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay affects children more than any other chronic or infectious disease, and 25 percent of children from low-income families ages five to 19 have untreated tooth decay. Children are especially prone to cavities and tooth decay, which can cause problems with eating, speaking, playing and learning.

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To fight tooth decay and to keep kids’ teeth healthy this summer, Kool Smiles dentists suggest the following to parents:

  1. Plan healthy breakfasts. Schedules aren’t as busy during the summer, which gives kids the opportunity to plan their own breakfasts. Make sure there is a variety of seasonal fruit available for kids to choose over sugary cereals. Hard boiled eggs are also a great source for protein without the sugars so many breakfast meals contain.
  2. Minimize soda intake. The scorching summer heat and alluring soda commercials can send your kids on a quest for those sugary beverages. Resist the urge and offer up some ice water with a lemon slice or other infused fruit to sweeten the deal. Soda is the worst nightmare for your children’s dental health, so do your best to keep it out of the house.
  3. Pack healthy snacks and drinks on trips. Whether it’s a day trip to the pool or a longer vacation, finding healthy food options on the go can be difficult. Vending machines, the ice cream truck and fast food stands rarely have non-greasy foods or low-sugar snacks that are good for the body and teeth. Pack some fresh strawberries to satisfy a sweet tooth. While they do contain natural sugar, you are better off with a berry over a snow cone.
  4. Brush, Brush, Brush. Summer nights may come with later bed times. Active days in the sun tire everyone out, but parents need to make sure that their sleepy kiddos tend to their pearly whites before hitting the sack. Brushing right after dinner is key. If kids have a bed time snack, the last thing to touch their teeth should be a toothbrush. Sugar can cause a lot of damage to a mouth over night and it’s important for kids to clean out the day’s meals and snacks before they turn in for the night.
  5. Practice the 3-2-1 rule. Eat three healthy meals, brush twice and floss once every day.
  6. Schedule a dental checkup. With kids out of school and free, summer is the best time to schedule those necessary dental checkups. During your child’s dental checkup, the team will likely perform a cleaning, check for any cavities or other oral health problems, and reinforce the importance of good brushing and flossing habits. Children should get a dental checkup every six months.
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