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Dental Health Tips, Your Child, and Summer Camp

Their bags are packed and they’re ready to go. Your little camper is heading off to their first overnight experience. Don’t let a summer dental slump happen. If your child is going away to sleepover camp, take a look at how you can help them maintain their dental health while they’re away.

Schedule an Office Visit

When is your child’s next dental office visit? If their regular check-up falls during their overnight camp time, you’ll need to reschedule the appointment immediately.

It’s easy to get caught up in the post-camp/pre-school year rush. If you haven’t rescheduled your child’s dental visit yet, the appointment could get lost in the shuffle — resulting in a longer-than-necessary interval between check-ups.

Even though your child’s teeth may seem fine now, dental visits provide a valuable preventative service. The hygienist will clean your child’s teeth and gums, reaching areas they may skip on their own.

Along with a professional-level cleaning, the dentist will examine your child’s mouth. This biannual exam helps to spot problems, which allows the dentist to treat cavities and other dental issues before they go from minor to major.

Pack More Than One Brush

Your child needs to brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes. Whether your child is going to overnight camp for a few days or a few weeks, they need to have a working toothbrush for their entire sleepover stay.

If your child loses their toothbrush, damages it, or drops it on a damp communal bathroom floor, they’ll need a new one. Waiting a week for a care package from home isn’t an option. Instead of waiting for word that your child lost/damaged their toothbrush, pack a few extras.

Even though the toothbrush is a mainstay of your child’s healthy mouth routine, they also need to pack plenty of floss. Like with a toothbrush, one package of dental floss is not enough. Add an extra (or two) just in case your child misplaces their floss.

Talk About Brushing

If you typically monitor the amount of time you child spends brushing for them, you’ll need to discuss proper oral hygiene before your child leaves for camp.

Topics to cover include:

  • Tooth brushing time. Older kids can time their own two-minute sessions. Younger children may have more difficulty judging if they’ve brushed for long enough. Have them count or sing a song in their head to help them brush for the correct amount of time when they’re at camp.
  • Flossing. Along with brushing, your child also needs to floss. Cover flossing basics, such as how much floss to use, how often to floss, and how to hold the floss.
  • Including all the teeth. In their rush to get back to camp fun, your child may stick to the front of their teeth. Proper technique requires your child to brush the fronts, backs, and tops of their teeth.
  • Brushing after meals. If possible, your child should brush after meals — especially ones that include sticky or sugary foods.
  • Making healthy choices. When given the choice between a glass of water and a sugar-added fruit punch, which one will your child pick? Talk to your child about how sugar affects teeth (causing cavities) and which foods and drinks to choose.

It’s common for children, especially young children, to forget about brushing and oral hygiene. If you have concerns about your child independently maintaining a healthy mouth, take photos, make a video, or write a list of instructions for them.

Does your child need a pre- or post-camp dental appointment? Contact the office of Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates for more information.