Oral Health: Kid Approved Best Practices
Summer is here! School is out and the kids are home until August. And while parents can reminisce about their own summer childhood memories, this time of year can actually be a very stressful time for those of us with kids at home. How can we ensure our children enjoy summer break while also teaching them how to take care of themselves?
A good place to start: basic dental hygiene.
It’s easy for kids to get lazy about their oral health – no matter what time of year it is. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By implementing a few of these kid approved tips, you can help your child build a solid foundation of proactive habits to ensure they are healthy, happy, and have a beautiful smile at the start of the new school year!
Now, onto the 4 easiest tips to practice sound dental hygiene all summer long.
1. Routines Are Key
During the school year, kids have a set schedule they follow Monday through Friday. They have a specific time that they wake up and a specific time that they go to sleep, having a routine for each that includes brushing and flossing. But in the summer, their schedule is much more lax and each day could present a new adventure.
This is where maintaining consistency and practicing routines with our children is vital. Reinforce the benefit and necessity of brushing (2-3 times a day) and flossing after each meal. Healthy habits are hard to establish – even as adults. Don’t let kids avoid brushing and flossing because they woke up or went to sleep later than normal. Our advice? Have everyone brush their teeth together to show them the proper way to brush and floss!
For The Stubborn Ones…
There are children who may not be as accepting to their summer time hygiene schedule, there are a few tips and tricks that may help brushing become more exciting, such as:
- Turning on their favorite song while they brush and floss
- Brushing during commercial breaks of their favorite show
- Offering small incentives to get them excited
2. Oral Health Starts With A Good Diet
It’s very easy for kids to slip into bad eating habits without the school lunch or breakfast that they are used to getting. They have a tendency to eat more snacks and candy, while drinking sugary drinks at cookouts, summer camp, and vacations. Constantly chowing down on sugar and processed foods is a recipe for issues like cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay.
Make sure that you’re keeping a close eye on how much snacking is happening. Limit how many snacks they eat a day, and when possible, make those snacks healthy. It’s important to have a variety of healthy snacks available in the home and encourage kids to drink water. Water not only keeps them hydrated in the heat, but it also improves oral health. It washes away leftover food residue that potentially causes bacteria and strengthens your teeth.
Healthy Snack Alternatives
- Trail Mix
- Orange Slices
- Protein Bars
Food & Drinks To Stay Away From
- Ice Cream
- Fruit Snacks
- Sugary Cereal
3. Protect Their Teeth
Kids are prone to hurting themselves; it’s a fact of life. With warm weather in full swing, there’s plenty of indoor and outdoor fun to experience. That’s why talking to your little ones about having fun while remaining cautious. Physical activity is great, but there’s nothing more traumatizing and painful than losing teeth on the playground. It’s reported that 3 million teeth get knocked out every year. Be proactive and have a mouthguard specifically made for children just to be safe.
If there’s any place kids want to be in the summer, it’s in a pool splashing around. While lifeguards and adult supervision are a given, there are some things we can teach kids to stay out of harm’s way.
- Always walk around the pool, never run. This could result in a nasty slip and fall accident that can knock out teeth.
- Limit time spent in the water. If teeth are exposed to chlorine too much it could cause your mouth to dry out, weaken your enamel, or cause your teeth to become hypersensitive.
4. Prepare For Vacation
If you plan on going on vacation this summer, it is important to make sure you pack all of the items necessary for your kids to continue their dental routine. This includes their toothbrush, floss, travel-size toothpaste and mouthwash. If you forget these items, no worries! You can always buy them at your destination, but it’s always good to save money and pack them if you can. It’s also a good idea to bring emergency supplies in case of an accident like, pain reliever, cotton balls, saline solution, and dental wax.
Stay Ahead Of Your Child’s Dental Hygiene & Book Their Upcoming Teeth Cleaning
In our time working with families throughout the Greater Columbus Area, our dental hygienists and dentists can all agree on one thing: oral hygiene for kids is easier before summer picks up. Get their routine teeth cleaning out of the way before the craziness of day camps, traveling, and constant sleepovers hits. Your kids look up to you, so help them form habits that promote oral health from what to eat to how to protect our teeth in daily life.
Schedule Your Appointment with Perimeter Dental Group
Need to schedule your child’s back to school dentist appointment? Don’t wait until the last minute – schedule your appointment today!