School’s out! Help kids keep oral hygiene in session all summer.
Summertime Dental Tips for Your Smile
School’s out for summer—but that doesn’t mean kids and teens should take a break from dental hygiene. After all, the CDC cites tooth decay as one of the most chronic conditions impacting children in the U.S. Therefore, the Dr. E Cosmetic and Family Dentistry team wants to remind everyone that taking care of your smile is a full-time job — even during the lazy, hazy days of summer.
Parents can help kids and teens keep up with their summer brushing and flossing routine with these handy (and fun!) summertime dental tips:
Choose the right tools. Remember, brushing and flossing can be a frustrating task for little hands that lack manual dexterity. To help motivate young children to brush, involve them in picking out a character-themed toothbrush. Enlist their help in choosing their favorite flavored toothpaste. Also, consider purchasing a colorful timer to sit atop your bathroom vanity as a fun reminder to brush for two full minutes. For younger children and teens alike, try out a power toothbrush; it’s a gizmo that’s fun to use but also effective in removing plaque. Teens who act like they are too cool to brush may be further incentivized by these sleek, trendy dental hygiene products.
Offer rewards. A little incentive never hurts! Craft a fun system like a “brush and floss” chart complete with themed stickers, or use your creativity to create a customized reward system that works best for your family. Not a fan of arts and crafts? Offer simple, verbal incentives like extra bedtime reading or TV time as a reward for their good brushing all week long. Of course, earning extra screen time for thorough oral hygiene is a great way to incentivize older kids and teens!
Keep a routine. For kids, summertime is usually synonymous with later bedtimes, sleepovers with friends and cool family vacations. By all means, let kids relax and enjoy summer fun, but try to keep their oral hygiene routine as consistent as possible… and stock up on disposable “dental kits” with travel brushes and toothpastes to make it convenient for them to brush and floss on-the-go when necessary.
Use positive reinforcement. Rewards and incentives are effective, but don’t underestimate the power of praise. Positive affirmation is one of the most positive and effective motivators for young children, teens (and even adults). Make an effort to observe your child’s oral hygiene routine and accentuate the positives—like complimenting them for brushing a full two minutes, remembering to brush their tongue, or even cleaning up any toothpaste they inevitably spilled on the vanity.
Download age appropriate apps. Some cool apps turn brushing and flossing into a fun, interactive experience for kids and teens. For example, young children ages 4-12 can use entertaining apps like Colgate Magik or Brushing Hero that are designed to instill good oral hygiene habits. Screen-loving teens can check out apps like Brush DJ that allow them to choose their own brushing soundtrack as they brush (and dance) their way to a perfect smile.
Keep up with dental visits. Summer is the perfect time to check in with your dentist. As you schedule back-to-school well checks, remember to include your family’s dental cleanings in the mix. After all, many common dental issues such as tooth decay and gingivitis can be preventable if treated early, saving you time, money and stress!
Remember, taking care of your smile is a daily, lifelong job. Modeling good lifelong dental habits for young children and encouraging teens to prioritize their oral hygiene will pay off in the long term. So, along with Dr. E and her caring team, do your part to help educate kids and instill the importance of good dental habits that will last them a lifetime!
Enjoy summer and don’t forget to schedule your family’s dental well-checks with the Dr. E Cosmetic and Family Dentistry Team! 480-494-2435