It’s finally summer, and that means outdoor adventures for families and kids alike. Whether it be a trip to the pool or grandma’s house moms are great at being prepared for anything! While summer is exciting, it also offers the opportunity for problems to our kids’ health. With increased outdoor time and hot temperatures, the risk of sunburn is higher. Also, with the flexible schedules, celebrations, and summer treats, kids may be at higher risk for developing cavities. There are plenty of ways to keep our kids safe during the summer months. If you are reading this, chances are good you are a mom who wants to protect your kids and keep them healthy this summer, and that means knowing how to protect their skin and their smile this summer.
Sun Protection is Key
When preparing for an outing to a lake, pool, or park most parents know the importance of grabbing the sunscreen. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, regular use of an SPF 15 sunscreen can decrease the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 40%, and the risk of developing melanoma by 50%. A broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays can also decrease signs of sun damage and aging. It is important for moms to understand the ingredients in sunscreen and how they work to protect the skin.
There are two types of sunscreen ingredients: chemical and physical. They work together to help deflect or absorb harmful rays before they cause the skin to redden and burn.
It’s important to choose a sunscreen with both chemical and physical components. In addition, you must apply sunscreen properly in order to receive the benefits. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association proper application includes the following:
- Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside
- Apply enough sunscreen. Adults need about 1 oz. per application
- Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas, including the lips and scalp
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, after swimming, or after sweating
Smile Protection is Key
Like protecting the skin from harmful UV rays with sunscreen, fluoride can help protect teeth from harmful cavity-causing bacteria. If you want summer photos to include bright happy smiles, be sure to keep fluoride use in front of the mind as well. According to the American Dental Association, fluoride is a natural substance that helps protect teeth from acid produced by bad bacteria. When we eat and drink the bacteria in our mouth feeds on the carbohydrates and produces a harmful acid that breaks down the enamel in the teeth, eventually causing decay. Fluoride provides protection from harmful bacteria and also helps teeth stay strong. When fluoride is present in the saliva the chemicals in the saliva combine with the fluoride to produce something called fluorapatite. This compound is the greatest natural defense system against decay. Just like sunscreen, it is important to understand how to properly apply, or use fluoride. Here are key recommendations:
- For children under age 2, only brush with water
- For children age 2-6 years of age, use a smear or grain of rice amount of fluoride toothpaste
- For children ages 6+ use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
It’s important to know that children also get fluoride from foods, beverages, and water. Your dentist may recommend a topical fluoride application if your child is at higher risk for decay.
Summer is full of fun in the sun, but make sure you are properly protecting your kids’ skin with sunscreen and their smiles with the right amount of fluoride to ensure healthy, happy kids! For more information about kids’ dental health give Luxe Dental Arts a call at: (281) 562-7537.
With over 10 years of experience under her belt, Dr. Karishma Sheth brings to you dentistry with gentle hands and a very caring approach. Attention to detail and high quality dentistry are her utmost priority in ensuring her patients receive the care they deserve.
Dr. Sheth earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Arizona, Tucson, and her dental degree from the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Sheth furthered her education by completing a residency at the University of Texas, Houston.
Since then, she is a strong proponent of staying on the forefront of advances in dentistry. As a result, she has over 1000 hours in post-graduate advanced continuing education and has earned her fellowship with the Academy of General Dentistry. She has also earned her fellowship with the prestigious International Congress of Oral Implantologists.
Quick weekend safari trips were no big trek for Dr. Sheth as she was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya! She is multilingual and fluent in 4 languages. Dr. Sheth is a proud mother of two girls and when she is not hard at work she loves to spend time with her husband and their daughters, making memories and living each moment to the fullest.