School is out and life becomes a little less structured. But don’t forget to continue yours and your child’s oral hygiene routines!

Here is some advice to help you avoid any unpleasant dental surprises this summer:

Establish a Routine

Try writing down a list of things that must be done before your kids head outside to play. Include brushing and flossing teeth into a set of other simple tasks, such as putting away laundry or making their beds. Then, create a similar policy at night as part of your wind-down routine. This will promote brushing and flossing as a habit with other tasks.

Start Fresh
Summer is the perfect time to replace old toothbrushes. Perhaps your family’s toothbrushes are already overdue for a replacement, which the American Dental Association recommends every three to four months.

Limit Summer Treats
Barbecues, pool, parties and county fairs will mean more than the usual amount of “special treats.” Summer is all about the food – cold soda, ice pops, cotton candy, and ice cream. Unfortunately, these sugary snacks can contribute to a high number of dental cavities as well. While it’s okay for your kids to have an occasional treat, you should limit these snacks to once a week or less and avoid them before bed. Choose low-sugar or sugar-free options as well, or make your own ice pops from pureed fruits instead of buying them from the store. Consider keeping berries in the kitchen, which are often as sweet as candy. Even though baby teeth eventually fall out, baby teeth play an important role in helping your child bite and chew food, and speak clearly.

Schedule a Checkup

With freedom from school, use some of the flexibility to make a dental appointment, even if your kids appear motivated to keep up with oral hygiene while home from school. A summer dental checkup can serve as a reminder to kids to continue following good personal oral hygiene. Nobody wants a disappointed dentist, who will be checking to see how the kids did over the summer!

Its not always easy to keep your family on an oral hygiene schedule in the summer, but maintaining oral health during the summer will help you avoid dental disasters this summer!