Summer is a difficult time for children’s dental health. This time of year means lots of food, beverages, and situations that can damage their teeth and turn smiles to frowns. However, you can help them keep their mouths healthy and bright by staying aware of risks.

While it’s best to avoid sodas and candy, some treats are worse offenders. Hard candies can chip or break teeth – get kids to suck on them, not crunch. Caramel, taffy, and chewy candies with similar consistency pull out fillings and restorative work with alarming regularity. Frozen candy bars are the worst of both worlds – best to pick soft frozen treats like ice cream. Acidic fruits and fruit juices contribute to erosion and decay. Get kids to rinse with water after citrus fruits and juices, and wait an hour before brushing their teeth – acid exposure leaves teeth vulnerable, and brushing can actually damage them if done too soon.

Some children like to chew on the sticks in lollipops and popsicles. Kids aren’t beavers – chewing on anything that isn’t food damages teeth. If they’ve picked up the bad habit of gnawing on pencils and pens, help them stop by reminding them to keep the pen on the page and out of their mouth. Chewing ice is terrible for teeth – if they need something to crunch, offer celery, apples, or pretzels as an alternative.

Children get scrapes, scratches, and bruises without any lasting damage, but accidents involving the face could mean breaking or losing teeth. Mouthguards protect children during sports, even non-contact sports. “Boil-and-bite” mouthguards offer a better fit than bulky stock ones, but children with braces or other appliances should get a custom one made by your dentist.

Dr. Locke provides quality family dental care for Waco, Woodway, Hewitt, and surrounding areas. Contact our office today at (254) 776-4888 to schedule an appointment for your child, and keep their smile sunny.