It’s that time of year again! The holiday season is always a fun and exciting time, but it can also be stressful for kids and oral hygiene. With so many tempting treats everywhere you turn, healthy teeth can become difficult to maintain. Keep your child healthy during the holidays with these 5 tips!
Keeping your mouth healthy during the holidays can be a challenge. Even though it’s hard to do, good dental habits are vital, especially for children. Teaching a child good dental habits will help them keep their growing teeth healthy, and also to develop habits for when their adult teeth come in. Dental health is one of the top things that should be stressed to a child when teaching them good, healthy habits in general, and is more so important during the holiday season. It is important to make sure they keep up with their regular brushing routine, attend their regular dental visits, and avoid too many sugary treats.
#1 Brush every morning and night
Make sure that in the holiday season your child is brushing every morning and every night. During the holidays, there are all kinds of fun parties and events, in which children will most likely intake a larger amount of sweet treats than normal. The sugar in those candies will stay on your child’s teeth if their teeth go unbrushed. The sugar will turn into plaque, which is a substance that damages teeth enamel. If you brush your child’s teeth after every meal or snack, this can help prevent damage to their healthy teeth.
Make sure that your child brushes after eating anything sugary or drinking any type of soda pop. Brushing right after eating allows the saliva to flow on the teeth (So it is important to teach your child early on that brushing is a good habit and is something they need to do twice daily. However, during this time of the year, it is extremely important. Sometimes brushing more than two times a day is needed to keep your child’s teeth healthy during the holidays.
Not brushing your teeth can cause multiple complications in your mouth. Bad breath, cavities, and plaque to name just a few. Good oral care and dental hygiene not only prevents you from having bad breath but also prevents tooth decay and gum disease.
Brushing your child’s or children’s teeth daily will help their teeth stay healthy longer. Having an unhealthy mouth with a child may result in your child having cavities and needing silver caps on your child’s teeth due to sugars, not brushing, etc. By showing your child the importance of brushing at a young age it will help them in the long run. You are setting them on track for a lifetime of healthy habits.
#2 Don’t Skip Your Dental Appointment During the Holidays
During the holiday season, there are lots of events and parties that can make it difficult to maintain healthy teeth. Allow your children to enjoy themselves during the holidays, but don’t forget their dental appointments! If you have a regular checkup scheduled already for this time, call ahead and confirm if they will be open during the holidays.
It is important to start taking your child or children to the dentist early on to begin regular check-ups. During these check-ups, your pediatric dentist will check for any abnormalities, clean your child’s teeth, and educate them on the importance of dental hygiene for keeping their teeth strong and healthy. Additionally, taking your child early will help form a relationship between your child and their dentist.
Depending on your child’s age, their dentist may suggest coming in once every three months or maybe just once a year. Either way, it is important to keep up with these regular check-ups so that your child’s dentist can examine your child’s teeth, continue to prevent conditions, and prevent the worsening of any current conditions.
We understand that scheduling appointments during the holidays can be seemingly impossible between all the vacations and time off, but don’t skip it! Skipping a dental appointment could be the difference between getting a filling and a crown to treat a cavity. If caught early enough, an increased treatment of fluoride may even be all that’s needed.
#3 Avoid Too Many Sugary Foods
While all the extra sweet treats during the holidays can be tempting, try setting a cap or general rule for your little ones. For example, only two treats after your meal or one while you are at the party. Sugary foods, juices, and candy are fine in moderation, but they can weaken and erode the enamel on your teeth which can cause a cavity or cavities depending on how much you consume.
You should make sure that if your child does eat these foods that you have them rinse their mouth out and brush their teeth afterward to remove the sugar and harmful bacteria off of their teeth. This will help prevent tooth decay and cavities.
This rule applies to sweetened liquids and medicines as well due to the sugars in both the drinks and medicine that they are taking. While children are growing, their mouths and teeth are getting strong and trying to grow as well. So, helping your child brush their teeth and avoid cavities is key. It is important that as your child’s permanent teeth grow, you are helping your child keep those teeth the healthiest they can be so they don’t run into any complications with their dental health as an adult.
#4 Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Sugar Intake
It is perfectly healthy for your child or children to have a treat here and there, but it is important that they know the consequences of too much sugar. This time of year can be hard with all the parties and treats coming in abundance. As parents, we want our kids happy and healthy, but we also want to show them that healthy living is important and should be practiced throughout their lives.
When you’re at a party or just out with your children during this holiday season it can be difficult not to give in when they are begging for something sweet. But instead of giving in to your child’s requests, talk about healthy choices and healthy eating. Teach them that moderation is key to a healthy life with treats here and there, but it’s not the main staple in their diet.
You can also encourage your children by telling them about healthy snacks they can have between meals when sweets are calling their name! For example, you could tell your child about healthy choices for snacks, healthy drinks they can have instead of juice or soda, and having water as their main beverage. These small changes will go a long way in keeping your children healthy this holiday season!
#5 Look for Sugar-Free Options
As we said before, healthy choices and healthy eating can be difficult when it comes to avoiding sugars. But the good news is that there are many options out there in terms of sugar substitutes!
You could give your children their favorite sweets or treats with a sugar substitute such as xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that can be found naturally in berries, vegetables, and some hardwood trees.
It has been shown to reduce the amount of bacteria on healthy teeth because it doesn’t provide food for harmful bacteria or germs which cause tooth decay. It also helps prevent cavities by making the mouth less acidic which then prevents tooth decay. It can also help to reduce plaque buildup which is the leading cause of gum disease and cavities!
This healthy alternative will not only save your child’s teeth from cavity-forming sugars, but it may actually improve their dental health with less sugar in their diet overall!
Visit Us Today
It is important that your child is brushing and avoiding those sugary foods to prevent cavities and stay healthy during the holidays. It is also important that if your child is due for their check-up around the holidays, don’t skip it! Be proactive. We understand that the holidays can be hectic and we will work with to make sure your child gets the care and attention they need. Regular dental appointments are part of good dental habits that children need to learn early to keep their teeth healthy during the holidays and the rest of their lives.
Visit Snodgrass-King Dental Associates at any of our 5 locations across Middle Tennessee (Mt. Juliet, Murfreesboro, Franklin, and Cool Springs) to see if we can jump-start and be a resource in your child’s healthy dental lifestyle. If not, we can offer a variety of alternatives for not only children but also adults. We can also address any orthodontic needs for children, teens, and adults. If you feel that this is an option for you we’d love to explore those and see what we can come up with. Finally, we also offer pediatric sedation dentistry for children who may be more nervous.
If you have any questions, we’d love to answer any of those, as well as help to find the best solution for all your dental needs. Call us today at (615) 771-1111.