With summer well under way, many changes are taking place in your child’s normal, structured routine. School time, after school activities and organized play dates are being replaced with family vacations, summer camp, outings to amusement parks and outdoor fairs. Though we all want summertime to be a time for loosening up and having fun, we should not undo the valuable efforts we have placed on making sure our children avoid sugary foods and drinks throughout the rest of the year. Yes, there may be occasional exceptions, but staying aware of healthier alternatives is always the best route.
Park View’s Point of View
At Park View Pediatric Dentistry, we want to help you maintain your child’s daily oral health routine at all times during the year, especially in the summer when traveling or new experiences may throw off the normal schedule. This should include daily brushing and flossing and making sure visits to your pediatric dentist are scheduled for twice a year. However, it seems that during the summer months every turn has tempting sugary treats staring children in the face. What’s a parent to do?
Here are some common sugary junk food situations that the summer may present and some helpful solutions.
The Carnival Candy Craze — If you find yourself bringing the family to a carnival, state fair or even a city street fair, there will be a vast array of food and sweets. Whatever you do, and as festive as it may look, avoid cotton candy and large swirly lollipops at all cost! It is just a lot of pure sugar in one dose. Giant sized soda drinks are also sold at these events and should be equally avoided.
Solution — Thankfully many fairs are now including many healthy alternatives, including fresh fruit cups and slices of watermelon, pineapple or mango — equally as colorfully, but a lot better for your children. Bottled water is also sold and is always the preferred choice.
Away at Sleep-away— If your children are going away to summer camp, it obviously will be hard to control what they eat for the entire time. While we don’t want to deprive them of that occasional camp side “s’mores” experience, there is some advanced planning we can do.
Solution — When interviewing for a summer camp have an open conversation about nutrition and the amount of sugary treats that will be served. Choose a camp that has a good health conscious meal menus. Send your child off with an oral health kit in a colorful user-friendly pack that will include a new toothbrush, floss sticks and a mouth rinse. Impress upon your child that if they have occasional treat, it is more important than ever to brush away the sugar that is lingering in the mouth and can cause tooth decay.
Road Trip Munchies — Whether you are planning a family road trip, camping trip or a one day picnic, it may be tempting to pack candy, sweets, cakes or pastries. This should be especially avoided since it may not be as convenient for the family to brush their teeth right after eating.
Solution — With a little pre-planning you can pack a vast array of healthy nutritious snacks, packed neatly in colorful, lidded containers. These can include nuts, trail mix, fresh cut vegetables, low fat dips and fresh fruit. You can even get creative with nut spreads on apple slices or fresh fruit skewers sprinkled with coconut. It’s important to remember to make healthy choices a fun and positive experience.
We hope you are having a great summer of 2015, while you keep up the great oral health habits!