Summer is a fantastic time for families to boost their dental health, keeping those smiles bright and happy for all the fun in the sun. With all the outdoor activities and tasty treats, we can’t forget to stick to habits that keep our teeth in tip-top shape! Below, Adam Brown, DDS shares practical dental health tips for kids and parents to follow during the summer. We also dive into some tasty herb alternatives to salt that can help keep your meals flavorful and your teeth healthy.

Best Practices for Family Dental Care: Brush twice daily, floss regularly, and moderate intake of sugary snacks and drinks.

  1. Maintaining a Consistent Brushing Schedule

One of the most essential aspects of oral health is consistency. Brushing routines tend to become irregular with school schedules disrupted. Encourage your children to brush their teeth twice a day—once in the morning and once before bedtime. Setting reminders or alarms at the same times each day can help establish the routine.

  1. Making Brushing Fun

Brushing teeth can seem like a chore to young kids. As a parent, you can turn it into a fun activity. Colorful toothbrushes, flavored toothpaste, and brushing songs can make the experience more appealing. There are lots of apps and videos designed to teach proper techniques via entertaining methods. Letting children pick their toothbrushes and toothpaste can also give them a sense of control and make them more excited about brushing.

  1. Proper Brushing Techniques

Brushing should be fun, but it’s equally important that your kids brush correctly. Here are a few easy tips for teaching your young ones proper brushing habits:

  • Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for children under six.
  • Encourage your kids to brush for at least two minutes; use a timer or a two-minute song to help them keep track of time.
  • Teach them to brush gently in circular motions to effectively clean all surfaces of their teeth without damaging their gums.
  • Make sure they brush their tongues to remove bacteria and freshen their breath.
  • Supervise and assist younger children with brushing to ensure they cover all areas and don’t miss any spots.
  1. Flossing is Essential Too

Flossing is often overlooked but is crucial for removing food particles and plaque between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Start flossing your children’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth that touch. Kids can learn to floss independently as they older. You can use floss picks or interdental brushes if traditional floss is too challenging for your children.

  1. Healthy Eating Habits

Summer often means ice creams, candies, and sugary drinks. While it’s okay to enjoy these treats in moderation, remember to encourage a balanced diet to maintain oral health. Sugary and acidic foods and drinks can lead to tooth decay, so offer fruits, vegetables, cheese, nuts, and other healthy snacks. Drinking water after consuming sugary treats can help wash away sugar and reduce the risk of cavities.

  1. Regular Dental Check-Ups

Summer is a marvelous time to schedule regular dental check-ups since children are out of school. Regular visits to the dentist are vital for maintaining oral health, detecting any issues early, and receiving professional cleanings. Make it a positive experience by discussing what will happen during the visit and addressing your child’s fears or anxieties. Book your appointment with Adam Brown, DDS today!

  1. Using Fluoride for Extra Protection

Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent cavities. Make sure your child’s toothpaste contains fluoride. Your dentist might recommend fluoride treatments during routine visits for added protection.

  1. Leading by Example

Kids often imitate their parents, and you can set a positive example for your children by maintaining good oral hygiene practices yourself. Brush and floss together as a family, and make it a part of your daily routine. Doing so can reinforce the habit while providing an opportunity to guide and monitor your children’s brushing.

  1. Staying Hydrated

Encourage your children to drink plenty of water, especially during hot summer days. Not only does water help rinse away food particles and bacteria, but staying hydrated is essential for overall health. Getting your kids fun-looking water bottles can do the trick!

  1. Being Prepared for Dental Emergencies

More outdoor activities and sports equals an increased risk of dental injuries. Be prepared by knowing what to do in case of a dental emergency. Keep your dentist’s contact information handy and have a dental first-aid kit ready with gauze, a small container with a lid, and an ice pack.

Maintaining oral health over the summer requires a consistent and proactive approach. You can keep your kids’ teeth healthy and strong by establishing and adhering to regular brushing and flossing routines, encouraging healthy eating habits, and scheduling regular dental visits. Making oral hygiene fun and educational will benefit your children’s immediate dental health while instilling lifelong healthy habits. Don’t forget to keep those smiles sparkling as you enjoy those summer activities together!

Keeping Up With Oral Care as a Parent

Maintaining your own dental care routine as a busy parent juggling work, housekeeping, and family time can be challenging but is essential for your overall health and well-being. The key is to integrate dental hygiene seamlessly into your daily schedule.

Start by establishing a consistent routine. Brush your teeth twice daily, ideally once in the morning and before bed. Make this a non-negotiable part of your day (like showering or preparing meals). Using an electric toothbrush can save time and ensure a thorough clean, which is especially handy when rushing through your morning routine to get the kids ready for school and yourself off to work.

Flossing for the Win

Flossing often gets overlooked due to time constraints, but it’s crucial for preventing gum disease and cavities. One way to incorporate flossing is by doing it during another routine activity.

For instance, keep floss picks in a convenient location like your car, desk drawer, or beside your TV remote, and use them while watching your favorite show, waiting in traffic, or during a conference call that doesn’t require your full attention. Multitasking can keep you from skipping this important step without adding extra time to your day.

Eating the Right Foods

Diet also plays a significant role in dental health; being mindful of what you consume is another way to maintain your dental routine. As you prepare meals for your family, focus on including tooth-friendly foods such as crunchy vegetables, cheese, and yogurt, which help clean teeth and provide essential nutrients for oral health.

Avoid frequent snacking, especially on sugary or acidic foods, which can increase the risk of cavities. Opt for water over sugary drinks to keep your mouth hydrated and wash away food particles.

Going to Checkups

Regular dental check-ups are also crucial, but finding the time can be difficult. Schedule appointments well in advance and coordinate them with your children’s visits to minimize disruptions to your routine. Some dental offices offer evening or weekend hours, which can be a lifesaver for busy parents. Consider combining errands to maximize your time out of the house.

More Herbs, Less Salt: Enhance Your Oral Health Naturally

In recent years, there has been a growing movement toward natural health remedies. It emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet and incorporating herbs over excessive salt use. This shift benefits general health and can significantly affect your family’s oral health.

The Impact of Salt on Teeth and Health

Salt, or sodium chloride, is common in many diets worldwide. While it’s essential for various bodily functions, excessive salt intake can harm overall health and oral health.

Regarding general health, high salt intake is closely linked to increased blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular diseases. Excessive salt can also strain the kidneys, potentially leading to kidney disease. Further, a high-salt diet can cause the body to excrete more calcium, weakening bones over time and potentially leading to osteoporosis.

Here are a few other things high salt intake can lead to:

  • Dehydration, resulting in dry mouth. Since saliva is crucial for neutralizing acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, a lack of it can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Eroded tooth enamel over time when accompanied by acidic foods or drinks.
  • An altered balance of oral microbiota, which promotes the growth of harmful bacteria that cause dental caries and periodontal disease.

Benefits of Herbs for Oral Health

Herbs have been used for centuries for medicinal properties, and many possess qualities promoting oral health. Unlike salt, herbs don’t contribute to the health issues mentioned above and can actually enhance oral hygiene.

  • Antibacterial Properties: Many herbs contain natural antibacterial agents. For example, thyme and oregano are rich in thymol and carvacrol, respectively, which can reduce harmful oral bacteria. Neem, widely used in traditional Indian medicine, has strong antibacterial properties that help fight plaque and reduce gum inflammation.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Herbs like chamomile and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe gum tissues and reduce swelling. Turmeric is known for its active compound curcumin, which effectively reduces gingivitis and periodontitis symptoms.
  • Antioxidant Benefits: Green tea and rosemary are high in antioxidants, which help protect gum tissues from damage by free radicals. Basil contains eugenol, an antioxidant that can also help reduce inflammation and pain in the gums.
  • Promoting Saliva Production: Herbs such as parsley and cilantro can stimulate saliva production, aiding in the mouth’s natural cleansing and preventing dry mouth.

Best Herb Alternatives to Salt and Sugar

Incorporating herbs as alternatives to salt and sugar does wonders for flavor and promotes better health outcomes. Here are seven of the best herbs to consider for your family’s meals this summer:

  1. Basil

Flavor Profile: Sweet and slightly peppery

Health Benefits: Contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties, making it excellent for oral health. Basil also helps with digestion and can mitigate stress.

  1. Oregano

Flavor Profile: Strong and slightly bitter

Health Benefits: Rich in antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds. It aids in fighting bacteria and reducing inflammation in the mouth.

  1. Thyme

Flavor Profile: Earthy and slightly minty

Health Benefits: Contains thymol, a powerful antiseptic often used in mouthwashes and toothpaste. It helps in maintaining oral hygiene and preventing bad breath.

  1. Mint

Flavor Profile: Cool and refreshing

Health Benefits: Mint leaves are excellent for freshening breath and have antibacterial properties that keep oral bacteria at bay. It also stimulates saliva production.

  1. Cinnamon

Flavor Profile: Sweet and spicy

Health Benefits: Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties. It can help reduce bacteria in the mouth while preventing dental decay and bad breath.

  1. Parsley

Flavor Profile: Fresh and slightly peppery

Health Benefits: Known for its ability to neutralize bad breath, parsley also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

  1. Sage

Flavor Profile: Earthy and slightly peppery

Health Benefits: Sage has antimicrobial properties and is used to combat gum disease. It can also soothe oral mucous membranes and reduce inflammation.

Maintaining your family’s oral health over the summer is quite straightforward when you build good habits. Make sure everyone brushes twice daily, flosses regularly, and moderates their intake of sugary snacks and drinks. Also, consider making small yet impactful changes in your family’s diet, such as substituting salt with fresh herbs. Get ready to enjoy a summer filled with healthy, happy smiles—and reach out to Adam Brown, DDS