The essential summer camp packing list

Summer camp is fun. Packing for it, though — not so much. But there’s no need to get overwhelmed organizing your children’s luggage. Just use this handy list to remember the six essentials to keep them smiling and healthy all break long.

1 Teeth-friendly toiletries

The distraction of being away from home might tempt kids to abandon their daily brushing and flossing habits. So, give them a reason to care about oral health by packing their favorite flavored toothpaste, floss and mouthwash. And maybe let them pick out a special, sparkly new toothbrush just for camp. Plus, it never hurts to remind them that there’s one person who will be able to tell if they’ve kept up with their daily brushing: the Tooth Fairy.

2 Skin and smile protection

Did you know sunshine strengthens teeth? That’s because exposure to sunlight helps you produce vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium — the foundation of strong bones and teeth. But too much time in the sun can put kids at risk of sunburn and skin disease. And skin isn’t the only thing at risk of sunburn — lips are too! To protect your child’s skin and smile, pack plenty of sunscreen and lip balm with SPF. Be sure to also prepare for other outdoor elements like pesky biting bugs and plants by packing bug repellant and anti-itch cream.

3 Active equipment

Hydration is essential to a healthy body, so packing your child a water bottle is a must. Water not only regulates the body during sports, games and time in the sun, but it also cleanses the mouth and prevents cavities. Also, prepare your child for camp activities like baseball or basketball by packing a mouthguard to protect against teeth and mouth injuries. Just check to make sure your child’s mouthguard fits snuggly so it stays in place.

4 Healthy snacks

While it’s impossible to expect your child not to indulge in some treats at camp, avoid packing sugary sweets. Instead, try packing sugar-free gum with xylitol, which actually helps clean teeth. Also, encourage your child to load up on fruits and veggies at the mess hall — who knows, it might work!

5 Orthodontic gear

Do your kids wear a retainer or headgear? If so, remind them to bring it to camp, and go over how and where they should store it while eating or when it’s not needed. Check out these tips on caring for retainers.

6 Emergency supplies

Getting around in the dark can lead to accidents and mouth injuries. So, pack a flashlight with extra batteries to help your children find their way at night without crashing into someone. Also, be sure to provide them with emergency contact numbers and copies of their dental and health benefit cards (stored in a safe place) in case they need them.