Without a school routine to keep you and the kids on track, the summer months can create challenges for maintaining a healthy diet and oral care routine. With a little extra planning, however, you can have fun and stay healthy too! Here are four tips and tricks to keeping your children’s mouths healthy this summer:
Start a summer oral care routine
Now that there is less routine, there should be even more time for high-quality oral care. Brushing 2x daily for 2 minutes and flossing at least 1x daily should be a top priority. Reminders are important, however, and keeping a daily calendar may help your kiddos remember to brush, floss, and keep up on their chores!
Summer is a great time to stock up on new toothbrushes as well, including travel-size items for families on-the-go. Even without toothpaste, “dry brushing” also gets the yucky snacks out of teeth between meals that can create tooth problems later.
Schedule a dental checkup
While most families save the checkup until just before school starts, if there are any areas that need treatment, you might end up missing the first few days of school! Schedule your checkups right at the beginning of summer to avoid the back-to-school rush when appointment availability is limited and reduces the chance of a tooth problem cropping up during a fun family vacation.
Make snacking healthy the easy choice
A little bit of planning can make snacking easy and healthy. While it is tough to prevent frequent snacking while you’re out of the house during the day, keeping fresh fruits and veggies stocked and ready-to-go can help your kids make good grazing choices. For example, packing together veggies and hummus or guacamole in a makes a fresh and nutritious treat that’s also not bad for your teeth. Swap out sugary beverages for water in the fridge. These small changes will help kids avoid reaching for crackers and candy which stick in the teeth all day, and instead they can enjoy snacks good for their bodies and their teeth. (Fun tip: plan a summer garden and the kids can enjoy the "fruits" of their labor!)
If your child plays contact sports, ensure their mouthguard is fresh, fits properly, and is worn correctly. Play it safe with proper safety gear: always wear bike helmets, safety belts/car seats, and no ru
nning in the pool area! Educate yourself on what to do in a dental emergency- permanent teeth should be replanted right away if “knocked out” but baby teeth should not. Have your dentist’s contact information in an easy-to-reach place even when on vacation (this way we can help you find a local pediatric dentist if you’re on the go and in a jam).