With the holidays approaching, you’re likely feeling that sense of excitement, suspense, and preparation. It seems like the turkey isn’t even cool before we start thinking about several more holidays which culminate in the New Year.
For all of their excitement, though, the holidays have some drawbacks when it comes to dental care because the abundance of unhealthy foods that they introduce to our diets can hurt the teeth. This is especially concerning for children who have class parties at school and tend to receive plenty of food-related gifts for the holiday. Sweets and treats seem to come out of the woodwork, and it is important that parents present their children with learning opportunities on what to eat and what not to eat.
The following tips are ways parents can teach their children healthy oral habits:
- Teach children how to brush correctly – Children should develop the habit of brushing their teeth after breakfast and before going to bed. Flossing is also an important part of a child’s daily dental regimen.
- Monitor sugar intake – Parents should teach their children how to enjoy candies in moderation. As much as possible, children should also be reminded to avoid carbonated drinks as they erode tooth enamel even more than non-carbonated sugary beverages.
- Limit to three snacks per day – Healthy snacks are an excellent way to add vital nutrition to your child’s diet, but around the holidays, snacks tend to be very high in sugars and fats. If not checked, children could eat these unhealthy snacks several times in one day. Parents should limit snack time to only three times per day, and children should be guided to eat healthy snacks instead of sugary ones. Additionally, cheese and vegetables are excellent foods to aid in ridding the mouth of unwanted bacteria while strengthening enamel.
- Prevent cavities – Children should be educated from an early age regarding the dangers and causes of cavities. Teach your children what kinds of food can be harmful to their teeth. It is commonly understood that candies and sugary drinks can lead to tooth decay, but did you know that foods that are high in starch are also major contributors? Bread, cookies, and pasta take a long time to break down in your mouth and can lead to cavities. Teach children to drink water instead of sodas or juice and choose fresh fruits and vegetables instead of candy when hungry.
- Visit the dentist – Children should develop the habit of visiting the dentist at least twice a year. Starting from year one or when they get their first tooth, young children need to visit their pediatric dentist every six months to check on the development of their teeth.
If you’re not careful, the holidays can be a time where dental health takes a backseat. By following the above tips, you are helping your children make the most of their holiday break while maintaining their oral health.