Keeping Kids' Teeth Healthy During Summer Break

When school is out for summer, kids have a lot more free time on their hands. With the lack of structure and routine, it can be easy for healthy habits like proper dental hygiene to fall by the wayside. As a parent, you'll need to be proactive to make sure your children's oral health doesn't go on vacation during their break from the classroom. Use these tips to keep your kids' teeth healthy all summer long.

Stick to a Routine, and Make It Fun

One of the biggest challenges for many families is sticking to any kind of routine when there's no school schedule to follow. However, maintaining consistency with wake-up times, mealtimes, chore times, and most importantly - brushing and flossing times - will make it easier to keep good habits in place. Set reminders if needed until new summer routines are established.

Kids are also more likely to keep up with brushing and flossing if you make it fun! Use tech tools like brushing timer apps with games or music. You can also incorporate rewards like stickers on a brushing calendar or letting them pick out a new toothbrush color every month. Brushing battles between siblings can inspire competitiveness too. Just make sure proper techniques are being used.

Watch Their Diets 

With kids home during the day and families on more casual summer schedules, there's an increased temptation to snack constantly and fill up on sugary treats. Do your best to limit these tooth-decaying culprits and focus on healthy, tooth-friendly snacks like fresh fruits and veggies, cheese, nuts, and plain yogurt. Stay diligent about banning bedtime snacking and be sure kids are drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Prioritize Safety 

Summer is the peak season for all kinds of sports, camping, and outdoor activities where injuries like chipped teeth, dislodged crowns, or oral lacerations can occur. Make sure your kids wear properly fitted mouthguards for organized sports and recreational activities like skating, riding bikes or scooters, or playing at the playground. You'll also want current emergency dentist contacts in your area in case an accident does happen.

Encourage Flossing 

The lack of a school routine often means kids get lazy about flossing, even if they keep up with brushing. Take the time to emphasize and monitor their flossing habits to prevent food particles and plaque from accumulating between teeth and under gums where decay and gum irritation often start. Pre-threaded flossers or floss picks can make it easier for kids to floss independently.

Stay On Top of Bad Habits 

With fewer rules and more boredom, summer break may cause kids to pick up habits like sucking their thumb, chewing on pens or ice, grinding their teeth, or clenching their jaws. These behaviors can do a number on tooth enamel and lead to bigger issues. Gentle reminders to stop can help reverse habits before they become ingrained.

Don't let your kids' commitment to dental hygiene take a summer vacation! With some extra diligence and creativity from parents, it's easy to keep kids' smiles happy and healthy during their break from school. Contact Great Lakes Dental today if you have any other questions or need to schedule an appointment!