Oh, sweet summertime. It’s for fun, sun and delicious seasonal snacks. Before you bask in the sunshine, be aware of everything the season brings — even the not-so-fun things (we’re looking at you, sunburn).
Smart summer snacking
Did you know splinters can happen in your mouth, too? Ouch! If chewed on, wooden ice pop sticks can splinter off and find their way into kids' gums. Take them away as soon as they're done with their cool treat.
Gum damage can lead to infection, which may result in time-consuming and costly dental treatment. Rough and frequent toothpick use can also cause damage to existing dental work like fillings or veneers. What should you use instead? Dental floss or a water pick are both great mouth-friendly alternatives.
You can make your own refreshing summer snacks like dark chocolate-covered frozen bananas, blueberry-watermelon granitas or even banana-berry ice cream — all without the added sugar.
Keep a close eye on kids when they’re enjoying hot dogs, marshmallows and grapes. They’re just the right size to pose a major choking risk. Marshmallows’ sticky texture is also perfect for finding its way in between your teeth and their extra sugar can lead to tooth decay — enjoy only in moderation this summer.
Summer weather safety
Extreme heat is especially dangerous for children, seniors and those with pre-existing health conditions. For both their oral and overall health, ensure everyone you care for is keeping cool by staying hydrated with plenty of water. After some time in the sun, consider finding a shady spot to take a rest. It’s also important to keep items like water bottles, toothpaste and toothbrushes out of the heat to avoid melting the plastic and releasing harmful chemicals.
With the heat comes the sun’s powerful UV rays. Stay stocked up on SPF 30+ sunscreen and lip balm to avoid painful sunburns after a day spent outdoors (cloudy days count, too!). It’s best to avoid the 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. time frame, but if you can’t skip it, apply sunscreen 30 minutes before venturing outside, and don’t forget to reapply throughout the day.
Safely enjoy the outdoors
Under the heat of the sun, metal and plastic playground equipment reach toasty temperatures. Before anyone swings, slides or climbs, make sure to give the equipment a test touch to avoid burning legs or palms.
The garden hose is also a fun summer toy, but keep the kids and pets away when you first turn on the tap. Some water will always remain in the hose after its last use, and when it's left out in the boiling sun, it can reach a scorching 120 F.
Pools, playgrounds and backyards are magnets for dental emergencies. Keep an eye out for:
Wire grill brushes: One aggressive brush too many, and you’re making a trip to the ER to remove metal bristles from your gums after biting into your hot dog or hamburger. Try a wooden scraper instead.
Trampolines: Summer has us all jumping for joy, but even the most protective netting and padding won’t protect against a collision resulting in a broken or chipped tooth.
Pools: There’s nothing quite like taking a cool dip after a long day in the sun. However, water + concrete + pool toys = danger. Before diving in, make sure the pool deck is clear of obstacles and excess puddles to avoid slips and falls that could mean a major dental emergency. And listen to the lifeguard on duty — no running!
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