Summer is here and school is out. While your kids are likely excited to have more playtime, that does not mean they should not keep learning throughout the summer months. One great thing to focus on is their oral health. After all, good dental care habits begin in childhood! Here are some fun and effective ways to teach your kids about tooth care this summer.

Floss an Egg Carton

If your kids are struggling with the idea of flossing, this educational activity can really help. Paint an egg carton white, and fold it in half lengthwise so that the bumps are on the outside. The bumps should look like two rows of teeth. Use a piece of yarn and have your kids practice "flossing" between the egg carton teeth. This will help them grasp the concept of easing real floss between their own teeth.

Raid the Cabinet

Foods that are high in sugar are not great for teeth. Do your kids know what foods are high in sugar? Spend an afternoon going through your fridge and kitchen cabinets. Point out the foods that are sugary and therefore bad for teeth. Also point out some foods, like milk and nuts, that are good for your kids' teeth. Encourage them to choose more "good" foods and fewer sugary ones.

Make an Extended Dental Hygiene Appointment

Summer is the perfect time to fit in a checkup and cleaning appointment at the dentist. With more time on your hands, you can make this trip even more educational than usual. When you call to make the appointment, ask if the dental hygienist can spend a little extra time talking to your kids about oral hygiene and how to care for their teeth. Many family dentistry offices offer this service regularly and will have a standard presentation they use for this purpose. Hearing dental care advice from someone other than a parent can help convince kids that brushing and flossing really are important.

Play Dental Pictionary

Gather the family together for a game of Pictionary, but instead of drawing anything that comes to mind, draw items that are related to teeth and dental care. For example, you could draw a tube of toothpaste, a tooth, a dentist, or a drill. If you're unfamiliar with Pictionary, here's how it works: one person draws a picture of an item without talking; the others guess what that person is drawing.