Happy Teeth, Happy Camper!
Practicing good oral hygiene is very important for children during the summer time, especially when away at camps. Children tend to drink more sugary drinks, eat more junk food, and typically neglect their teeth more at camp.
As kids venture away from home and from parents for the first time (or any time), it is important to stress the need for good brushing and flossing habits. Be sure to talk with your children about why it is important to brush and floss and make sure they can do it properly on their own.
1) Before they leave for camp, you may want to have a practice time period to allow your kids to take care of their own teeth. You can watch them and offer suggestions as needed.
2) Send two toothbrushes with them to camp, each in its own ziplock bag. That way, if something happens to one toothbrush, they have a spare, and it stays clean in the ziplock bag. If a toothbrush gets nasty or dirty, children won’t use it.
3) Don’t rinse with water after brushing and flossing. When you rinse with water, you wash away the active ingredients (like fluoride) in toothpaste. It is much more beneficial to just spit out the excess toothpaste as needed, then floss and spit again, then no rinsing, and go to bed with a clean mouth with fluoride and other active ingredients on your teeth. This allows the fluoride to be absorbed into the teeth over night, thus making the enamel stronger and more resistant to cavities.
Good luck, and I hope everyone has great summer!
Nathan A. Burns, DMD
Pediatric Dental Specialist