Dental Decay works hard to ruin children’s teeth; it never takes a spring vacation. Parents and children alike can easily overlook their oral hygiene when vacations change the family schedules.
With late nights for campfires and early mornings for exploring nature, even we at Dentistry for children know how easy it is to neglect brushing and flossing. Dental attention can be easily over-looked.
Children, aged 7 to 17, (our patients from Oviedo, Orlando, and Central Florida) are chattering about spring break. They are talking about the beach weather, the fresh sights they will see, and all the picnic food they will eat.
The Joys of Spring Break
We too are excited to celebrate the shining arrival of spring. March has barely started, and yet Spring Break is in the air and on everyone’s mind.
Perhaps because of the deprivations of the Time of the Pandemic, we are in an especially agitated state. Yes, we are ready to have some down-time and a refreshing change of scenery. And we live in a great area for natural and metropolitan get-aways.
Beware, Dental Care and Oral Health Cannot Take A “vacay”
As we care for your child’s teeth and hear your plans for family vacation fun both in and out of our beautiful state, please do not think of us as spoilsports. Why would you think of us that way? Well, because…We just can’t resist reminding you of some dental tips to “pack” for your mini-vacation.
We have blogged about vacation and dental tips previously, but a refresher list of reminders and special cautions for your Spring Vacation might not hurt at all.
Road Trips, Dental Decay and Car Treats
1. Gentle reminder: Dental problems, including tooth decay, never take a holiday. They are on a mission to destroy the dental beauty behind those children’s gorgeous smiles. So we at “Dentistry for Children” must warn parents that they cannot take a vacation from regular brushing and flossing routines.
2. Next, don’t take a car-trip without sugarless gum. Just, be sure you find sugarless chewing gum with the ADA Seal. It will taste like a treat, but it’s actually good for your dental health, in moderation. If you chew it for 20 minutes after a meal, the saliva can help to wash away the bacteria that could cause dental decay.
That’s because it gets saliva flowing, which helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria. However, remember it is certainly no substitute for brushing and flossing. If you can’t brush after candy or dessert, rinse heartily, for 20 seconds.
Keep Your Dentist Close and Avoid Sugary Drinks On Your Summer Break
3. Thirdly, at Dentistry for Children, we know kids are going to crave sugary treats.
As we always do, we urge you to avoid our number one offender sugary drinks. They are addictive, and it is getting warmer, which makes them more so. And these sugary drinks mean “holiday” to kids. Yes, 3 days of a holiday is enough to return home with a new habit that’s bad for your dental health.
4. Finally, be sure to take Dentistry for Children with you! We have said this for almost every holiday. And we’re always glad we did. Even if it’s only a holiday weekend and you are not going very far away, we hope you will put our numbers and email address into your Smartphone.
Likewise, you could go “old school” and put our business card in your wallet. In case of a dental emergency, you can call us. Even over the phone, we can help you with a dental problem. If your child chips or breaks a tooth in a rowdy Spring Break basketball game, our advice is only a phone call away.
Never Forget: An Any Time Trip Tip
We suggest packing your children’s toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss in their individual carry-on bag, or in a designated “family” bag. You do not want to chase after these items in an emergency shopping spree in a new town.
This could happen if the main luggage is lost before you arrive at your destination. (And there might be drama if your four-year-old’s irreplaceable “Frozen” or “Batman” toothbrush is missing. Don’t laugh—we’ve seen this happen!)
Tooth-Friendly Camping Quick Tips
Now, we have advice for some of our outdoorsy families who are going camping, hiking, or even spelunking over the break. If you are stranded, up a creek, or down a mountain without a toothbrush, or if you just forgot it, what do you do? It’s easy.
Our advice is to use your own finger or a piece of cloth. Yes, we’ve heard of mountain men who used the freshly exposed wood fibers of a fresh stick. However, that’s a good way to get splinters in your gums. So please don’t try this! By the way, what if you have the brush, but the water is dirty? Aha! Use your drinking water, right out of the bottle.
Plastic Bags to the Rescue
Now, assuming your children have those toothbrushes, parents, it’s essential to help kids keep those brushes clean. We don’t want the infection to spread to the tender tissues of the mouth while fighting dental decay.
- This tip is simple and cheap. All you need is a box of resealable plastic bags. When you travel, put your toothbrush, wet or dry, inside the protection of that plastic bag. Experts explain, “Letting your toothbrush air dry is how you keep your toothbrush clean at home, but that’s not always possible on vacation.” Use a fresh bag every day.
- Normally, we endorse air drying of course. However, when traveling, experts say, “Keeping your toothbrush clean and out of contact with other things is more important than making sure it’s dry on vacation.”
Danger, Dental Decay Lurks in the Spring Break Diet
Spring break gives us time for family meals together, and parents, you are the influencers in this situation. Fear not giving your little ones dental-friendly options.
Check out our previous comments about candy. You will see that dental decay comes with gummy sticky candy. It’s just hard to remove from dental surfaces. It sticks harder to the enamel than most kids are willing to brush. Likewise, jawbreakers and other hard candies can chip the hardest enamel of any child’s tooth.
A dentist in Hawaii (a state that ranks 2nd only to Florida in being Spring Break oriented) provides another great tip. “Designate after dinner as dessert time…” “Your kids will brush and floss shortly after in preparation for bed.” We take this to mean a time closer to bedtime.
We think this is a brilliant alternative to serving or ordering dessert immediately after dinner. On this schedule, you avoid allowing letting dental decay work on destroying teeth throughout the evening until time to brush.
Thanks for reading our blog. We hope these tips help to make your spring break a happy, tooth-healthy vacation.
Kid’s Jokes For You
PS: We thought you might enjoy a few kid’s jokes at least vaguely related to spring.
Q: What do you call a rabbit with fleas?
A: Bugs Bunny.
Q: Why do potatoes make good detectives?
A: Because they keep their eyes peeled.
Q: What do you call two young married spiders?
A: Newly webs.
Q: What do you call it when worms take over the world?
A: Global Worming.