The holiday season is a time to get together with family and friends. With every family visit and party, you know there will be no shortage of sweet temptations lurking around every corner. But while your children are taking full advantage of all the wonderful holiday cookies, cakes, and candy, it can take a toll on their oral health.
7 great tips to help you keep cavities out of your holiday plans
It is a good idea to encourage your child to drink water after every snack or meal, especially after consuming sugary treats. With so many temptations over the holidays, water helps to wash away a lot of the sugar left in their mouths after devouring a plate of Christmas cookies!
“Drinking water can also wash away leftover crumbs that can get caught in the teeth and lead to cavities,” says Dr. Lela Farmer of Scuba Smiles for Kids in San Antonio.
There are even sugarless flavorings you can add to water to make it more fun to drink.
There are going to be plenty of cookies, cakes, and candy during the holidays. From a tray of freshly baked holiday brownies to a bowl of tempting candy canes, the snacks and treats will be everywhere. So, one of the best ways to protect your child’s teeth during the holidays is to limit their sugar intake.
“You don’t have to say no to everything of course, but when their stomachs begin to growl, try to offer healthier snacks like nuts, dried fruit, or yogurt instead of sugary candy or cookies,” says Dr. Farmer.
Avoid the Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a popular holiday spice that can add a real festive flavor to many of a child’s favorite treats.
“Cinnamon can also irritate the inside of the mouth and lips, especially for children who are prone to mouth sores. If your child has sensitive skin, it’s best to avoid cinnamon-flavored treats altogether,” says Dr. Farmer
Candy and more candy!
From chocolate kisses to gumdrops, which holiday candy is least harmful to your child’s teeth? When it comes to candy, always go for the treats that that are less sticky and more likely to wash away easily. Chocolate is always a better choice than sticky candies like gummy worms or taffy. Don’t forget to have them wash that delicious chocolate bar down with a glass of water or have them brush their teeth if possible.
What’s in the Stocking?
Instead of filling your child’s stocking only with candy, consider some other stocking stuffers that will surely put a smile on your children’s faces like small toys, a puzzle, or a craft.
Keep that Brushing Routine!
It’s more important than ever to maintain your child’s regular brushing and flossing routine during the holidays.
“Forgetting good oral health habits can happen easily as routines are interrupted with school breaks and family visits. Be sure your children remember to brush and floss their teeth at least twice a day,” said Dr. Farmer
You can make brushing fun this time of year. Try singing their favorite song while they brush like the 12 Days of Christmas. Have them pick out a new holiday toothbrush that has seasonal colors. Find a sand timer and let them watch the sand run from top to bottom while they brush. You can even tell them their favorite Christmas story. There are lots of great ways to make brushing and flossing a fun part of their daily routine.
Schedule a Dental Check-up
“Now is a perfect time to schedule a check-up before the end of the year and while your children are on their school break,” says Dr. Farmer.
Remember while you and your children are enjoying all the delicious foods of the holiday season, don’t forget to take to make sure they keep their smiles happy and healthy going into 2024.
From all of us at Scuba Smiles, we wish you the very best this holiday season and a Happy New Year. See you in 2024!