It's the start of summer vacation. You've stocked up your medicine cabinet with aloe vera cream to soothe the sunburns your child will undoubtedly acquire, and you have plenty of bandages on hand to take care of the impeding skinned knees and elbows. When planning for the added risk of injury that summer brings, though, did you account for the risk of tooth damage? Read on to learn 3 surprising ways summer is rough on your kid's teeth.
Do you think your child's teeth are protected because you offer them sports drinks instead of soda or lemonade? Think again. Sports drinks are acidic and have sugars in them that can damage the enamel of your child's teeth. In fact, when a team of dental experts tested the effects of sports drinks on teeth, they found that the drinks could begin to erode tooth enamel in as little as five days.
Stick with water as your child's primary beverage -- it's every bit as effective at re-hydrating them as sports drinks are. If you must offer your child a sports drink, have them drink it up at once rather than sipping it to limit the time their teeth are exposed to the acidic beverage. Offer your child water to sip on immediately following a sports drink to help wash the sugars from their teeth.
Playing Too Hard
Recently, the International Olympic Committee identified an activity that was beneficial to every single part of the body... except the teeth. What is this activity? Exercise. Studies show that when you exercise, you not only have less saliva in your mouth, but the saliva you do have has a higher pH than it does when your body is at rest. So, the more your child exerts himself, the greater his or her risk of developing tooth decay.
Keep your child cooled off with plenty of water during summer vacation. Encourage them to play in the shade, and have them sit down for a ten minute rest every hour to return their saliva to its normal levels.
Prolonged exposure to swimming pools with an improper pH balance can cause irreparable damage to your child's teeth. When the pH level is too high, the acidic water can eat away at tooth enamel. It can also make salivary proteins in the mouth break down too fast, leaving dark brown stains on the surface of the teeth.
Ideally, the pH level of a swimming pool should be between 7.2 and 7.6. If you have your own swimming pool, monitor the pH level closely and don't let your child swim if it falls outside of the acceptable range. If you visit a public or shared pool, it's a good idea to carry some pH test strips in your purse or pocket so that you can check the acidity of the water before allowing your child to swim.
Limit the amount of time your child spends in chlorinated swimming pools. Have a talk with them about how the pool water can damage their teeth and remind them to try to keep their mouth closed while swimming.
If your child reports tooth pain after swimming or you notice any staining on their teeth, talk to your pediatric dentist or a place like North Phoenix Pediatric Dentistry about a fluoride coating to help protect their teeth from improperly balanced pool water.
As you prepare for the perils of summer, don't forget about the dangers the season can bring to your child's teeth. Schedule your kid a visit to the dentist to make sure they're starting their vacation with a strong, healthy smile, and follow the above advice to protect that smile all summer vacation long.