Summertime is here and we are all feeling the excitement in the air. The summer season is usually filled with endless activities as kids replace their tired, dirty, torn and sometimes even lost school backpacks with beach bags and sports bags. It’s time for summer league sports, swimming, playing at the park, trampolines and bike riding.
It also means kids are leaving the safety of their “teeth friendly” classrooms. Usually, the last thing a parent needs or wants to worry about is a dental accident, but kids will be kids and sometimes accidents are bound to happen. Taking precautions and being prepared with a few tips and some helpful advice will make the difference between a rockin’ summer and one that isn’t quite for the record books.
- To minimize the chance of injuring their teeth, young athletes who participate in both contact and non-contact sports should wear custom-fitted mouth guards.
- Athletes should visit their dentist on a regular basis to check for unusual tooth wear.
- If the worst happens and a tooth is knocked loose or comes out, seek emergency dental treatment immediately.
- After the accident, the tooth should be located and picked up by the crown or enamel portion and NOT the root. If the tooth is dirty it should gently be rinsed with milk or water. Do not store the tooth in water.
- It should be noted that if a primary (baby) tooth is knocked out, it should NOT be replanted as it could damage the permanent tooth bud in formation. Parents should NOT try to place the baby tooth back into the socket, and should immediately seek the advice and treatment of their dentist. Your dentist will ensure that the tooth socket is clean, healthy and determine if any follow up monitoring is necessary.
- The best thing that can be done for a knocked out permanent tooth is to have it re-implanted, and the sooner this happens, the better. If the tooth has been on the ground, you will want to GENTLY pick it up by the crown (the part you usually see in the mouth) and not the root. If there is any gum tissue attached, it should remain intact. Gently immerse the tooth in a cup of cold milk or your child’s saliva, and take it with you to the dentist
- Dentists recommend reimplanting a permanent tooth as soon as possible. The sooner it is reimplanted, the better the prognosis.
- If your child breaks a tooth, bring the broken fragment to the dentist immediately!
Summertime also brings the tendency to “skip” good oral hygiene practices. When kids are out of their “school routine” they tend to forget to brush and floss. Also, during the summer, kids are snacking more frequently, which increases their chances of tooth decay. Studies have shown frequent snacking increases the risk of tooth decay, as teeth are continuously being bathed in sugars, creating an acid when mixed with plaque- a sure fire recipe for tooth decay.
So how can you help?
- Limit snacks your child grazes on during the summer months to 1 to 2 healthy snacks a day. Try to avoid sugary drinks, sports and energy drinks and sodas as much as possible.
- Set a new regularly scheduled oral hygiene regimen. A mandatory set daily time for brushing and flossing.
- For younger children you may also want to create a chart system for brushing. For each day the child brushes during the summer a star may be placed on a chart.
A great resource, not to mention a very fun, practical and easy read, is the book titled, “More Chocolate, No Cavities” by Dr. Roger Lucas, DDS. This is a comprehensive guide to help parents offer better snack choices.
We hope you enjoy the beautiful Wenatchee Valley to its fullest and enjoy everything it has to offer the next few months. Make memories, cherish the time with your family and hopefully you’ll only see us for your children’s checkups…but if there happens to be a “bump” in your summer plans, we’re here for you.
— Wenatchee Pediatric Dentistry