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How to have a Happy, Healthy, Cavity-Free Summer!

Jul 13, 2018

SUMMER!! It’s the word that gets the whole family in a good mood.  Summer is a time for ‘letting loose’, easing up on the typical routines, and allowing ourselves the flexibility to have fun and relax on a whole new level. BBQs, trips to the pool/beach, late nights out on town, kiddie sleepovers—what more can you ask for?

We wish you a safe and super fun summer, but we also encourage you to keep it healthy!  Yes, by exercising and staying active—luckily, this comes more naturally in the summer. But, also, and just as importantly, by maintaining a FUN, HEALTHY DIET! Our routines during the school year tend to keep our diets more disciplined, yet there is a tendency to abandon those routines when the warm weather and longer days roll around.

Here at Fountain Pediatric Dentistry, we CHALLENGE YOU to a CAVITY-FREE SUMMER!

Here are some awesome ideas to get you on track:

  • Before we get to diet, let’s not forget about our recommended brushing routine! Once in the morning for ‘good breath’, and once in the evening to keep the sugar bugs away. We challenge you to brush (and floss) 30 minutes after dinner and dessert instead of waiting before bedtime. The idea here is that you’ve ‘crossed it off your list’ and can continue to enjoy the evening without having to worry about it later on when we’re all tired out and settled into ‘lazy mode’.  IF your kiddo is really craving a last-minute snack before bedtime, we recommend non-cavity causing snacks like veggies (i.e. baby carrots, cucumbers) or cheese (i.e. string cheese), and then washing it all down with a tall cup of water.
  • Promote wholesome, healthy, CLEAN meals in your household this summer. We encourage you to incorporate lots of fresh fruits and vegetables on each plate, as well as whole grains and any good, lean sources of protein.  We recommend avoiding processed foods as much as possible. Remember, the more colorful the plate the better.  There are plenty of healthy summer meal ideas online that will make your kids excited to head to the table.   We also support the new and improved guidelines set forth by USDA’s MyPlate: choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate.  Check it out!
  • Healthy summer snacks: FRESH fruits (avoid dried fruits, fruit roll-ups, fruit snacks, etc.), FRESH veggies (try pairing with a healthy dip, i.e. hummus), olive oil-based all-natural popcorn (available in stores or easy to make at home), string-cheese, yogurt, and nuts.
  • Beware of the not-so-healthy go-to snacks (consume in moderation): pretzels, Goldfish, crackers, chips. We call these the ‘sneaky snacks’, because, although they seem harmless, they have been shown to cause cavities the same way as candy! Crazy, we know.  Simple carbohydrate snacks stick into the grooves of your teeth, break down into sugars, and become a feast for cavity-causing bacteria living in your mouth.  If you choose to buy these snacks, we recommend the whole grain or multigrain versions, which are less appealing to cavity-causing bacteria.
  • The celebrated summer snacks (consume in moderation): ice cream, ice pops, milkshakes, and smoothies. Who can say no to these delicious treats on a hot summer day? Go ahead and enjoy these foods, but remember that they are high in sugar content and that consuming them too much or too frequently can do a lot of damage to the teeth (and body).
  • Drink LOTS of water!! This is important especially in the summer, when our eating routines may be a little out of whack.   Water is a natural cleanser for our mouths and overall bodies.  Keeping a ‘wet’, hydrated mouth will help wash away meal/snack leftovers AND lower the overall activity of cavity-causing bacteria (aka ‘sugar bugs’) by neutralizing the acidity level in our mouths.  Many marketing companies are promoting ‘flavored’ waters, but here at Fountain Pediatric Dentistry, we recommend just plain ol’ water.  Some ideas to make water-drinking more appealing is by making your water jug or glass more colorful with cucumber slices or mint leaves.  Avoid adding lemon (for its acidity) and sugary fruits (we don’t want our teeth soaking in sugar water).  Another idea is buying your kiddos playful summer water bottles with cool straws or special designs on them.

We hope you found these ideas helpful. AND WE HOPE YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL SUMMER!

© 2014 Dr. Jennifer Fountain, DDS.
All rights reserved.