Healthy oral hygiene becomes a big challenge whenever routine is changed. And summer vacation time from school might be the largest schedule challenge ever faced by tooth fairies and parents. Healthy brushing habits, not to mention flossing can fall by the wayside. Swimming classes, summer softball, day camp and other outdoor activities replace the normal morning routines. It’s easy to lose healthy dental habits among all the exciting activities.
Parents, Alert! Step Up to the Plate for Oral Hygiene
It’s time to become extraordinarily vigilant. And it is time to be the superhero of your child’s mouth. Why? Because our great-great-grandmothers used to teach us, “As the mouth goes so goes the body.” (Yes, it seems a little like they said the same thing about children’s teeth as they did their horses teeth, and we can grin a little about that. However, they were right…on both counts. Scientific evidence has proven that a healthy mouth is a key to a healthy body.
All kidding aside, with the end of the school year, summer fun is about to begin. We at Dentistry for Children predict fractured schedules for every family. According to the dental experts at Colgate Company, “That means getting your kids to eat and maintain good oral hygiene can be a struggle. And with all this extra activity, there may even be a dental emergency or two.”
And So Below, We Begin Summer Tips for Healthy Mouths:
1. Encouraging Healthy Mouths On Family Trips
We have a previous blog full of good hints for maintaining oral hygiene on a family vacation. We highly recommend a quick look at it. And whether you are taking the kids to grandma’s house for three days or to Disney World for a week. Please check it out for the good of those bright, healthy smiles.
2. Let The Circle Be Unbroken
Dr. Troy King and the staff at Dentistry for Children believe that nothing replaces the simple power of doing something together as a family. You can make it a point that 2 minutes twice a day for proper brushing is family time, however short. Some parents notice that in helping their children keep their brushing schedule, their dental check-ups are improving. Make it part of fun-time, and don’t break the chain.
Keeping a little brushing calendar really helps during this time of year. Put the youngest in charge of marking off the days. Or let the middle child put stars on the days. Try it before you laugh at it. These cute pages keep whole families on brushing and flossing track. And the brushing time together can make some really funny facebook pictures.
Plus, it’s a chance to spend more time together. Would you believe statistics say brushing alongside your children for 2 minutes, twice a day for the three months of summer gives you 6 extra hours together as a family group? So make the most of them!
3. Fabulous Fun With Flossing Correctly
Without the rush to get to school on time, you can take the moments you need to teach children the value of cleaning in between those shiny white teeth at least one time a day.
Dr. Hayes states, “Your children should be flossing between any two teeth that touch…”
A Note On Flossing:
Some parents are unaware that some children do not have the motor skills for flossing until age 9 or even 10. You can tell if they are doing it correctly. If they are having a hard time, try some of the new interdental cleaners. Likewise, they respond to putting your hands over theirs to guide them into the crevices.
4. Celebrate Summer With Healthy New Brushes!
Let’s band together, parents, against worn out, germ-infested un-inspiring toothbrushes. This is the perfect time to find cool-looking brushes that inspire healthy oral hygiene. Another plus is that it is also the perfect time to invest in travel-sized brushes and flosses for that upcoming family vacation.
5. Share the Best Summer Drink There Is: H2O
We want to warn the parents of our young patients here at Dentistry for Children. This is the season for a big campaign against sugary drinks. Rather than saying no to cola and cool-aids, we see the summer heat as an opportunity to say yes. We can say yes to the Healthy Drink: clear, crisp, clean, cold water. Yes, we know summer games and festivals, family picnics and community events encourage other drinks. But they do not even satisfy thirst and they threaten teeth with caries. (dental decay)
The American Dental Association states, “Watch your family’s intake of lemonade, juice and soda,” And they add, “Consider sugary drinks treats to enjoy once in a while, and not often.”
Offering water, hopefully, water with fluoride or milk to drink with meals might be an adjustment at first, but it is best for oral hygiene. (See our previous blog article to read up on the value of Fluoride.)
In our next blog, we will be rounding up more tips to help you keep your children’s smiles happy and healthy as we adjust to the hectic, fun-filled summer months ahead.
Meanwhile, as we approach Memorial Day, May 28, we urge you to remember the real meaning behind the special day. We honor the bravery, devotion, honor and valor of the fallen heroes in our military.
Dr. Troy King and his staff at Dentistry for Children wish you and your family a safe and happy Memorial Day Holiday.