How to Empower Your Child to Keep Up with Oral Hygiene Over Summer
As the temperatures rise and school winds down, your kids are preparing for the freedom of summer. Schedules and structure get put on pause, making things challenging for parents. You may begin worrying about keeping your kids on track with their oral hygiene routine when the rest of their life is unstructured.
Whether you’re traveling or spending the day by the pool, ensuring your child continues brushing and flossing is crucial. One of the best ways to do this is to add it to routine tasks, like making the bed, but that doesn’t guarantee it will get done. You can use some techniques to keep up with hygiene habits for children throughout the summer.
Getting Your Child to Take Charge of Their Oral Hygiene
Summer is a time for relaxing, but not when it comes to hygiene habits for children. You may have to remind your child a few times to keep brushing throughout their summertime routines, but how can you empower them to make this decision independently?
1. Create an oral hygiene calendar.
Help your child make a brushing and flossing calendar. Many children enjoy craft time, so this activity will entertain and help your child stay on track with their oral hygiene. Blank calendar templates are available online that you can print off and decorate with glitter, crayons, stamps, and dental-themed stickers.
After writing their name on the calendar, have them identify a few monthly dental goals to jot down. For example, a child who struggles to brush their teeth twice daily may make that their goal. Encourage realistic, attainable goals that will keep them excited throughout the summer.
When your child completes a daily goal, with or without prompting, reward them with a sticker they can place on the calendar. Keep the calendar near the bathroom so they see it each time they enter, creating a visual positive reinforcement.
2. Let them choose new dental tools for a summer routine.
The American Dental Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend replacing your toothbrush every three or four months. The beginning of summer is the perfect time to take kids shopping for a new toothbrush to help motivate them to stay on top of their dental care habits.
Choose a toothbrush and other oral hygiene products that feature their favorite character or color. For example, a child who loves mermaids may get more excited about brushing their teeth with a sparkly toothbrush that looks like a mermaid!
The most popular flavors for mouthwash and floss are minty, which many kids don’t like. But many products also come in fun, fruity flavors that will help them enjoy this step of their oral hygiene routine.
3. Take care of your own teeth.
A lot of what kids learn is through observation. They’ll follow suit if you do not practice good oral hygiene habits.
You can lead by example by brushing your teeth twice daily and keeping up with dental visits. The more your children see you brush and floss, the more you reinforce the habits, making it more likely they’ll take the initiative to brush their teeth.
Show them the correct amount of toothpaste, which is a pea-sized amount. Ask them if they’d like to brush their teeth with you, but watch them to ensure they do it correctly. Children under age eight may need additional help and to have their teeth checked after they’ve finished.
4. Make brushing fun.
Two minutes can feel like forever to a child brushing their teeth. Instead of staring at a clock, fill the two minutes with fun. Find ways to make the two minutes into time your child will enjoy, like by singing songs. You can find many songs online about brushing teeth sung to the tune of popular kids’ songs.
You can read a book about brushing and flossing so they can follow along as you read. There are even special toothbrushing apps you can download from the app store on your smartphone or tablet. Some apps have a toothbrush reminder to keep kids on track.
5. Schedule routine dental visits.
Regular dental visits are essential in caring for your child’s teeth. Visiting a kids’ dentist in Austin will introduce them to dental professionals who will speak to them on their level so they will understand.
This helps your child learn the importance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Allow them to ask the dentist questions about their oral health or hygiene routine.
Summer Visits With Parmer Lane Family Dentistry
Applying these techniques to empower your child to stick to an oral hygiene routine will set them up for long-term success. Parmer Lane Family Dentistry can help keep them on track, so schedule your appointments today.