The end of the year is filled with sweet treats, starting with Halloween and Thanksgiving, and then culminating with Christmas. The treats are now here in full force. From tasty and sweet candy canes, and sugar cookies, to delicious pies and cakes, taking care of your child’s teeth can become an afterthought during the busy holiday season.
“It can be easy to forget to remind your kids to brush and floss during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Staying on top of good oral hygiene year round can help you avoid expensive
teeth and gum problems for your child down the road,” said Dr. Lela Farmer of Scuba Smiles for Kids.
Here are 7 tips to keep in mind over the holidays that can help keep your child’s smile healthy and happy long term.
Snack Smart Not Sweet
One of the best things you can do is to limit how much sugar your child eats over the holidays. There are a lot of great snack ideas that can be less damaging to the teeth. Try serving up dried fruit and nuts. With a little imagination, you can even make a fun veggie treat for everyone. Try cutting carrot slices into fun faces or turning a banana into a snowman!
Sidestep the Cinnamon
Why? Cinnamon can add a lot of wonderful flavor to so many of your child’s favorite treats
including cakes, cookies, and candy. Cinnamon can sure put a smile on a child’s face, but cinnamon can also irritate the inside of the mouth and lips.
“If your child is prone to mouth sores, cinnamon can make a painful problem far worse,” said Dr. Farmer.
Wash with Water
It is a great idea to get your child in the habit of drinking water. Especially after a sugary, sweet snack. See if you can avoid the drinks often packed with sugar, such as soda. “Drinking water, or having your child rinse their mouth with water after a meal or snack, helps wash away all the harmful crumbs, sugar, and bacteria that can get caught in your child’s teeth,” said Dr. Farmer.
There are all kinds of options when it comes to candy. Instead of sticky treats, consider serving up their favorite chocolate instead. Chocolate left behind in the mouth washes away much better than the sticky candy that can get stuck between teeth.
What’s in the stocking?
Instead of loading up your holiday stockings with sweet treats, consider healthier options instead. You might want to substitute a candy cane with a super ball, or hard candy with a cool craft.
Keep that brushing routine!
Make sure your children brush their teeth for two minutes, at least twice a day, just like they do when they are in their non-holiday routine. It is so important during the holidays not to forget about their important brushing and flossing rituals. Besides, there are plenty of great ways to
keep brushing fun. Try singing a favorite holiday song while they brush. A happy holiday tune keeps the brush and the beat moving right along. There are lots of great ways you can make
brushing fun instead of a chore for your child.
Make an appointment
Now is the perfect time to schedule that holiday break check-up. If your child has not been to a
dentist in a while, why not get an appointment scheduled? You may find that scheduling an appointment before the end of the month with allow you to use up your remaining dental insurance benefits and flex spending accounts before the end of the year.
Meantime, If you were thinking of kicking off the New Year with an appointment in January, it may be better to book it now. You may just discover that you can get a time that is perfect for
your busy schedule in 2023.
“The Scuba Smiles team is always just an email or a phone call away to answer questions about your child’s oral health and help you keep your kid’s smiles happy and healthy all year
long. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,” said Dr. Farmer.