Summer is here with its warmer weather and fun outdoor activities! Whether you are on a staycation or vacationing, you can make sure your child’s smile thrives during this time when routines change and slow down. You still want to make sure your child’s smile doesn’t take a break from healthy habits, no matter what you’re doing! While summer is a great break from day-to-day responsibilities and activities, you still want to keep cavities and gum disease away all year round.
Maintain Daily Dental Hygiene Routines
Your child still needs to brush twice a day and floss at least once, no matter how late they go to bed or how late they wake up during the lazy summer days. You want their back-to-school dental cleaning and exam to get stars, not cavities! Supply them with flavored, ADA-approved toothpaste to help keep their tooth enamel strong and resist cavity formation. Give them a flossing tool they will enjoy using, like an interdental cleaner or water flosser, so they will want to use it! Create a daily dental hygiene calendar to mark off your child’s accomplishment of these tasks with fun stickers to help you track their goals and stay the course. Earning a weekly tooth-friendly treat like an activity, toy or outing (or a similar reward for teens) can help them maintain their motivation for a healthier smile.
Making Daily Dental Care Fun
For younger children, brushing and flossing with mom or dad can make it fun and something they look forward to even as you create memories with them. Doing by example is a great motivator, no matter how old your child is. Seeing you value your smile helps them want the same for their teeth and gums. Consider letting them choose their own child-size themed toothbrush and replace it every three months as the bristles start to fray, along with their favorite flavored toothpaste. Check to make sure these dental tools carry the ADA seal of acceptance, so you know they do what they claim to do. Hint: children love using electric toothbrushes as much as grownups do, and parents love how thoroughly they clean little teeth!
Summer’s bounty often involves sugary foods and drinks. Be sure your child has plentiful access to water for optimal hydration and keep sports drinks, juices, and soda to a minimum. Milk with meals provides much-needed calcium, and fluoridated water adds extra toothy protection. If your child is sitting around the house, stock the fridge with fruits or other healthy snacks. Cheese sticks, lunch meat, fresh fruits and chopped veggies can hit the spot without harming their teeth. Even limiting snacking can help keep food particles and harmful plaque to a minimum.
Bring Dental Supplies on Vacation
If you are traveling this summer, be sure that each family member’s oral health kit is stocked with the daily necessities. A travel-friendly toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, flossing tool, and antibacterial mouthwash can keep your child’s smile bright and healthy wherever they go. Keep germs away from toothbrushes with their own toothbrush holder and fun travel case, so they stay sanitary and less likely to be lost.
Schedule Back-to-School Dental Cleanings
With its flexible schedule, summer is an ideal time to squeeze in one of your child’s twice-yearly dental cleanings to stay on top of developing cavities or other oral health issues. Healthier teeth mean that your child will have one less reason to miss a school day (or more) from dental problems. Help your child look forward to their dental visits by making them fun. Seeing your enthusiasm when it’s time for their next cleaning and exam can boost their desire to go too. Our pediatric dental team looks forward to helping your child have a great, tooth-friendly summer experience!
Check out the Coloring and Activity Sheets on the Mouth Healthy page of the ADA American Dental Association. Your child will love these!
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