If your child is involved in team sports or loves to sleep over at friends' houses, then congratulations on having an active child with good social skills. While extracurricular activities and having lots of friends are beneficial to your child's physical and psychological health, habits that often come along with both of these activities can secretly take a toll on your child's oral health. Thankfully, there are easy solutions if your child has begun to develop cavities after lots of sleepovers or joining a new sports team.
Teach Teeth-friendly Sports Habits
Any sport that gets your child exercising while having fun is great for their overall health. However, you have to make sure your child is staying properly hydrated while playing sports and not with the wrong beverage.
Two beverages that children love to gulp down when they are thirsty on the court or field are sugary sports drinks and fruit juice. While these beverages are both okay for your child to drink occasionally, sipping on a travel-bottle filled with either throughout an entire practice session or game can wreak havoc on your child's teeth.
Some sports practices are even held before school, and that can leave your child walking around with a sugary, acidic coating on his or her teeth all day long after practice.
The solution? The best option is to have your child drink water only and ask their coaches to make sure this rule is enforced. However, an option that is less-likely to upset your child is to have him or her switch to a sugar-free sports beverage, so they can drink this alternative when friends are having the sugary version.
Prevent Sleepover Sabotage on Teeth
Sleepovers are fun for children, as they get to play games with friends and stay up a little later than usual. What isn't fun for your child is having cavities drilled when they have been gobbling up sugary sweets all night long at friends' houses on weekends and not brushing before bed.
The solution? Have your child eat a large, healthy meal before going to a sleepover to help them resist any sugary snacks and candy the host parents may be serving. Also, send your child with a large bag or container of tooth-friendly treats to share. Options include nuts, fun-shaped cheese cubes, and sugar-free pudding or jello (the children won't even taste the difference!).
Make sure your child also packs a small, travel-sized toothpaste and a toothbrush in the sleepover bag. This can help your child sneak into the bathroom and brush their teeth before bed, even if the other children aren't brushing. While good oral hygiene is nothing to be ashamed of, most children have the urge to fit in with their friends, so sneaking a teeth-brushing may help your child feel like he or she is not "sticking out" by brushing in front of the others.
Extracurricular activities and events with friends will always be a part of a healthy child's life, so these tactics to help keep your child's teeth healthy during sports-play and sleepovers can also help them learn habits they can use during other activities. Your child will thank you during the next family dentist visit when they don't have any new cavities that need to be filled.