All parents know that summertime for kids often means upended daily routines. Weekend trips pop up, sleep-overs happen, and vacations to the beach become top priorities. Schedules crafted and followed during the school year, including those for oral health, are quickly abandoned because of the spontaneity that summer brings. Come August and September, re-establishing these important routines can be a challenge.
Here are some ideas for parents to consider that can help re-establish good tooth brushing habits for the upcoming school year:
- Set a designated time to brush teeth each day and stick with it
- Buy a new fun toothbrush with a favorite cartoon character on it
- Choose a new fluoride toothpaste that tastes good
- Create incentives for your children: allow the child to stay up a little longer after brushing or no “story-time” until the teeth are brushed
- Use a reward calendar for brushing morning and evening each day of a week.
- Make brushing more fun by using things like this song
- Keep the conversation positive by emphasizing having a fresh mouth rather than the fear of losing teeth or getting “shots” at the dentist
- Finally, remember to model the behavior you want your child to adopt by brushing twice a day*
For some in-depth information about avoiding cavities, here’s a great resource from the NIH!
*You don’t have to use a cartoon toothbrush and sing that song unless you just want to 🙂
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