How To Protect Your Child’s Teeth This Christmas
Christmas is an exciting time for children. The thrill of the season provides lots of enjoyment, from travel to visit family, parties with friends, time off from school, lots of presents, and of course, plenty of sweet treats.
The seemingly unending supply of cookies, candies, and other sugary treats invites everyone, children, especially, to indulge more often. However, the increased consumption of sugar has a big negative impact on oral health.
Your kids’ dental health doesn’t have to suffer just become its the holiday season. You can keep them on track with these tips to minimize the damage done by sugary snacks, combined with an increased focus on good oral health habits.
Limit the Number of Treats
Part of the job of any parent or caregiver is to monitor the foods their children eat and do their best to limit the amount of junk food and sugar they consume. The holidays make it a little more difficult to stay on top of monitoring your children’s diet. Kids are exposed to treats in just about every social setting, with platters of cookies and jars of candy set out to tempt them.
Try and keep abreast of what your child is eating throughout the day so you can prevent them from eating too much sugar. Remind family and friends who are in charge of watching your kids what they are and are not allowed to eat. Ask for updates on what they had during the day so you can balance out the treats and avoid giving them too many at once.
When sweet treats are part of a meal or snack, take action and stress the importance of having your children brush their teeth or rinse their mouths. Removing the sugar residue as soon as possible is good to prevent oral health issues.
Choose the Right Kinds of Sweets
Not all sugary treats are created equal. While any kind of sugar or acid can cause tooth decay and cavities, some are worse than others. The worse kinds of sweets for your kids are chewy, gummy, and sticky candies. These often get stuck in the teeth and stay there for hours, even if your kids brush after eating. Hard candies and nuts are also ones to watch. Biting down on them can cause chips and cracks in teeth. Finally, limit your children’s consumption of any type of sugar-laden beverage. Liquids coat the entire surface of the teeth, exposing the whole thing to sugar.
This doesn’t mean your kids can’t have a candy cane or caramel once in a while. Just try to balance these types of treats out with other, less harmful options. Good choices, as far as sugar goes, include cookies and chocolate. Cookies are soft and unlikely to cause any immediate harm to teeth and gums, whereas chocolate melts away quickly and doesn’t stick fast to teeth.
Stress Oral Hygiene
Children need help to establish proper oral health habits and to stick to a daily oral hygiene schedule. It’s always crucial to monitor daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing, but you should pay particular attention during the holiday season when sugar consumption is higher than normal.
Make a point to help or oversee your child’s daily routine so that they brush their teeth at least twice every day. It’s better if they brush after every meal or snack. Plaque starts to calcify on the teeth and turn into tartar, which is hard to remove, in as little as 24 hours. Once this happens, a simple brushing isn’t enough to clean the teeth. However, teaching your children good habits like brushing after meals is the best way to remove plaque before it hardens.
Push Water Consumption
Drinking lots of water isn’t only necessary to stay hydrated and healthy. Water is also essential for good oral health. Make sure your kids drink water after every meal or at least rinse their mouths out. Leftover food particles that stay stuck in the mouth after eating are a prime breeding ground for bacteria. A quick rinse is a simple and effective way to clean the mouth when brushing isn’t a readily available option.
Use a Mouthwash or Rinse
Rinsing the mouth out with a fluoride rinse is a great way to freshen your breath, clean away food particles, and get rid of bacteria. Keep a mouthwash on hand to use after meals. You can also keep a small bottle in your purse or vehicle for your children to use after leaving parties if there is no time or opportunity to brush their teeth properly.
Keep Dental Supplies on Hand
Holidays are typically filled with parties and get-togethers that have you rushing off to a new location quite often. Whether you have numerous afternoon or evening commitments or plan to spend several days out of town over Christmas, it is easy to leave behind essential oral health supplies during all the confusion.
Plan ahead for forgetful moments by packing some vital supplies to keep in your vehicles. Include a toothbrush for every family member, dental floss, and mouthwash. You can reach for your supplies any time you need a refresh. This is a simple trick to help you keep your family’s health on track even when you’re busy.
Make a Dental Appointment
It’s only natural for kids to go a bit crazy with sugar consumption over the holidays. The prevalence of sweets combined with their heightened enthusiasm is a force to be reckoned with. Do your best to monitor their intake of sugary snacks and baked goods and reinforce daily brushing, flossing, and mouth rinses.
Encourage your children to speak up if they notice anything unusual or experience any pain. If at any time, you notice any new symptoms involving their teeth or gums, make a dental appointment immediately. Fast action is the best way to catch cavities and other problems early on, making them easier to treat.
Another great tip to prevent any lasting damage from holiday overindulgence is to schedule an appointment for your child with their pediatric dentist after the holiday is over. This is a great chance to get back into the swing of things by promoting healthy oral care habits and having your dentist take a peek to make sure everything looks good.
Contact us to schedule an appointment today!