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You round up your kids and reveal the surprise you’ve been planning for months:it’s time for a vacation! Then pack up, head to the airport and make your way to your family’s dream destination. You pull up at the hotel and make yourselves at home. But it’s been along day of travel and everyone is exhausted. You urge your kids to get ready for bed but no one moves. It looks like your bedtime oral hygiene ritual is about to go out the window…

If you’ve ever struggled with getting your kids to maintain oral health while on vacation, you are not alone! Parents around the globe all need help when it comes time to encourage young kids and teenagers to take a break from the vacation high and clean their teeth morning and night. Don’t let your kids’ daily oral health routine disappear while on vacation. Try one or more of the following tips to help your children maintain healthy teeth on-the-go.

1. Don’t Forget the Essentials

Although you’re miles away from your home and job responsibilities, you can’t take a vacation from oral hygiene. Don’t forget to pack travel-sized essentials, which include:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash

These five essentials should all fit in one small bag, depending on how many children you have with you. To give the routine a special vacation twist, you may want to bring your children to the store and let them pick out their own travel-sized oral hygiene essentials before your trip. If your kids are old enough to pack for themselves, make sure you check their bags to ensure their toothbrushes are coming on vacation with you.

2. Have a Backup

If the airline loses your baggage or you happen to forget the essentials, have a backup plan. Make a stop at a convenience store or gas station on your way to the hotel to stock up on new tooth brushes, toothpaste,and other must-haves. Your kids might think you’re crazy for making oral hygiene such a big deal, but stopping to stock up will help everyone in your family maintain healthy oral hygiene habits despite being on vacation. You may also consider having a list of backup dentists you can visit on vacation in the event of an emergency. It never hurts to be prepared.

3. Eat Healthy Snacks

Although you may be tempted to spoil your kids with sugary treats on vacation, try to consistently incorporate healthy snacks into your daily activities. Healthy snacks, including fruits, veggies,and nuts, will keep your kids full and won’t contribute to tooth decay. If you do opt for more sugary treats, make sure you pack plenty of water. Most kids won’t be open to brushing and flossing after every treat, but a few swigs of water will help break up and wash away sugar and bacteria before a tooth brush can do the job.

4. Be Thorough

End every day of your vacation with a thorough cleaning. If you have young children, let them brush first so they can demonstrate their independence. Once they’ve brushed, brush their teeth once more and then floss. If your kids hate brushing and flossing, try to make the chore a bit easier with flavorful toothpastes and floss.

5. Schedule a Dental Visit

Once your family returns from vacation, schedule a dental visit so everyone can get their teeth cleaned by a professional. Find a family dentist that offers regular cleanings. Regular cleanings are meant to thoroughly clean teeth and eliminate plaque buildup and bacteria. Don’t let oral hygiene slip through the cracks on vacation. Use the tips mentioned above to ward off cavities and keep your kids’ teeth clean throughout the entire trip.