Ah, summer. Time to slow down, kick back and have some fun with your family. However, every pool day, evening barbecue and camping weekend can hinder your usual routine. Your busy kids might even be so far out of their schedule that they completely forget to brush their teeth.
This time of year doesn't have to mean summer dental surprises. Making sure your children stick to an oral hygiene routine through the summer months can reduce the intensity of back-to-school checkups come August.
Buy New Gear
Summer is the perfect time to buy new toothbrushes. Chances are your kids' toothbrushes are already due for a replacement, which the American Dental Association recommends every three to four months. By letting your children choose the style and color of their new toothbrushes, they might be more inclined to clean twice a day. Bring them to the grocery store and let each child choose a cool, themed toothbrush, such as a Colgate® Dora the Explorer toothbrush. A new gadget featuring a similarly aged role model can encourage your kids to team up for a cleaning they're happy to "explore" every day.
Create a Routine
While your summer agenda might be a bit looser than your usual day-to-day during the school year, it's important that your kids have some type of structure. Instead of a rigid schedule, try this: Write down a list of things that must be done before your kids head outside. Mix teeth brushing into a set of other simple tasks, such as making their beds and putting away their laundry. Then, institute a similar policy at night as part of your wind-down routine. That way, brushing doesn't depend on a certain time, and becomes a habit with other tasks.
Limit Summer Treats
Cotton candy, ice pops, candy, soda: Summer is all about the food. County fairs, barbecues and pool parties will mean the kids have more than the usual amount of "sometimes" foods. Unfortunately, these sugary snacks can yield a high number of dental cavities as well. While it's okay for your kids to have a few treats, you should limit these snacks before bed. Look for low-sugar or sugar-free options as well, or make your own ice pops from pureed fruits instead of buying them from the store. Consider keeping certain berries in the kitchen, which are often as sweet as their favorite candy.
Schedule a Checkup
Even if your kids appear motivated to keep up with oral hygiene while home from school, you should still limit summer dental surprises by scheduling a dental checkup. Scheduling a checkup before school starts has two purposes: It's an easy time of year to remember, and can serve as a reminder to kids to continue following good personal oral hygiene. Nobody wants a disappointed dentist, who will be checking to see how the kids did over the summer.
It can be hard to get children to remember to continue brushing when school's out. By making oral hygiene a habit, you won't have to worry about any dental surprises this summer.