Dentist Smile Blog

School’s Out, but Your Child’s Oral Health Isn’t

Posted by Janice Spada, D.M.D. on Sat, Jul 12, 2014 @ 12:03 PM

child oral health imageLife takes on a more relaxed paced as we enter the summer months, especially for families with children.

Kids stay up later--sleeping later, too--and fill their hours with fun pursuits and, often, unhealthy foods.

Then there’s the inevitable panic that comes with the impending school year, filled with hair cuts, shopping for school supplies, and physical exams.

If your child has adopted some less-than-healthy hygiene habits over the summer, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise at his next children’s dental exam in Sudbury, MA. Dr. Janice Spada shares tips for preventing cavities in kids (and parents).


At the very least, your child should have his teeth cleaned and his mouth examined once every six months. During the appointment, Dr. Spada may recommend fluoride treatments and/or dental sealants for added protection against tooth decay. Fluoride fortifies the tooth enamel, and sealants protect your child’s molars from cavities for up to ten years.

Breakfast Is Still an Important Meal

With late nights come late mornings, leading many children to skip eating breakfast altogether. Some dive right into snacking, while others invade the pantry for a “lunch” of dubious nutritive value.

Eating breakfast is important because even though your child’s intellectual pursuits are temporarily put on hold, their teeth, gums, and body still need fuel. A healthy breakfast is more filling, making unhealthy snacks less of a temptation.

Actually, ALL Meals are Important

Just because school is out doesn’t mean parents can simply take the summer months off from work, so it’s all but impossible to police their every bite. When the inevitable snack attack hits, what will your child or teenager find in the fridge and cabinet? Sugary foods and beverages, such as cookies, sodas, and fruit juices, are known to promote tooth decay.

Even starch-heavy foods pose a threat. Bread and chips break down into sugar and cling between teeth and along the gum line. A few dentist-friendly alternatives:


  • Instead of sticky, sugary fruit snacks, choose fresh, crisp fruits with a high water content, such as apples or pears. Watermelon, the quintessential summer fruit, is good, too.
  • Instead of chocolate or bubble gum that contains sugar, offer chewing gum that uses the sweetener Xylitol, which has been proven to help ward off cavities.

Smart Hydration for Summer Activities

Team sports are a popular diversion during the warmer months, and hydration is important. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade, contain sugar and acidity comparable to that of soda. Unless your child spends several hours outdoors engaging in vigorous physical activity, water is best.

Dr. Spada also encourages parents to have their child fitted for a custom athletic mouthguard, especially when participating in contact sports. Our Under Armour custom-fit mouthguards offer superior comfort and protection.

For questions about our services, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Janice Spada, contact our Sudbury, MA family dentist office at (978) 443-3111. We offer preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry to patients living in Sudbury, Worcester, Framingham, Marlborough, and throughout the Boston suburbs. You can also follow us on Facebook!


Topics: Dentist Sudbury MA, Family Dentistry, Oral Health

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