Dr. Alan Barbakow, DDS
Summertime is no reason for kids to take a vacation from maintaining healthy teeth. It is important for them to continue their routine of brushing and flossing regularly. Parents should also continue to reinforce daily dental discipline in addition to seeing their dentist and orthodontist during the summer.
Besides playing video games, hanging out at the mall and playing Marco Polo in the swimming pool, snacking plays a major part in children’s summer activities. Oftentimes, they tend to eat foods such as candy, potato chips and ice cream that are delicious and fun, but are traditionally bad for their teeth. These kinds of foods heavily laced with sugar (sucrose) and corn sweeteners (fructose) attack the hard enamel of the teeth resulting in cavities.
Even refreshing beverages such as fruit juices are loaded with sugars. An 8 oz apple juice has 26 grams of sugar almost as much as a can of soda. A glass of pasteurized 100% fruit juice a day is sufficient.
Smart snacks are not only good for the body they are great for the teeth. If you are like most parents that have a hard time getting your child to eat healthy foods such as fresh fruits and raw vegetables, be creative. Fun and colorful foods such as berries, oranges, apples, tomatoes, pears, melons, celery, carrots, tangerines, apples, pineapples, cucumbers and nuts are attractive summertime foods that can appeal to kids. Try being a little more creative when providing kids with snacks. For example, give them a fruit smoothie, apples with peanut butter or an ice cream substitute – yogurt with fruit and granola. It is fun and delicious.
For years, we have been taught that chewing gum is unhealthy for the teeth. It is just the opposite. Chewing (sugar-free) gum regularly exercises the teeth and jaws and keeps them healthy. Besides having fresh breath, chewing gum strengthens the teeth and prevents tooth decay.
Create your child’s perfect smile. Parents should take advantage of the summer and setup a consultation with an orthodontist. All information necessary to determine a definite diagnosis and growth pattern can be evaluated as young as six-years-old when molars begin to erupt. Due to recent advances in orthodontic care, the most beautiful faces can be created with early evaluation. Having proper orthodontic treatment can align jaw structure and develop facial balance to produce a healthy smile.
Dental and orthodontic responsibilities don’t go on vacation. The summer is the perfect time to get a jump-start on designing your child’s sparkling smile and healthy teeth for the upcoming school year.
Dr. Alan Barbakow, DDS specializing in facial growth and development. He has created more than 10,000 beautiful designer smiles.