The holidays are a magical time of year, especially for your kids. There are lights everywhere, snowball fights, time out of school — and sweets around every corner.
Although extra treats are part of what make this season so special, all those sugar cookies and candy canes can take a toll on your child’s oral health.
It’s not reasonable to try and stop your child from eating any cookies or candy during the holidays. Even if you tried, school parties and bowls of candy at friends’ houses give your kid plenty of opportunities to indulge.
But planning ahead for the tasty temptations of the season can help you protect your child’s oral health from extra sugar. Plus, I doubt your kid wants you dipping into their present fund to pay for filling their cavities.
Here’s how you can keep your child’s smile bright and healthy this holiday season.
Slow down on the sugar
From school parties to cookie decorating to making gingerbread houses, sugar is in abundance during the holiday season.
And sugar is one of the main ingredients of expedited cavities in your kid’s mouth.
To bring balance to your child’s diet, keep desserts to a minimum at home. Cook healthy foods that are good for your child’s dental health, like lean meats and vegetables.
Try to limit starchy foods like potatoes, pasta and bread, which break down into sugar and promote bacterial growth in your kid’s mouth.
When you’re at dinner parties with the relatives, encourage your child to choose just one dessert out of the array of choices. And make sure they brush as soon as you’re back home to cut down on the time sugar has to feast on their teeth.
Don’t skip your appointments
If your child’s annual or semi-annual dentist appointment falls on the holidays, don’t skip them for other holiday events.
It’s better to catch and treat small dental issues like cavities early before they have the chance to turn into a more serious (and more expensive) issues in the new year.
Your dental office might be closed during the holidays. A preventive visit to your dentist now can keep your child from having a full-blown dental emergency during your family’s holiday feast.
If your dental office will be closed during the holidays, ask for a referral in case your child has a dental emergency.
Stick to your typical schedule
Late night cookie decorating and early mornings to see Santa’s gifts can get in the way of your child’s usual brushing and flossing schedule.
But be sure your kids stick with their oral health routine, despite the excitement of the season. Make sure they’re brushing twice a day, for two minutes each time, and floss every night.
Prep healthy snacks
Prepping tooth-healthy snacks for your kids to munch on throughout the day will help them curb their appetite for sugary temptations.
Healthy snacks like apples, low-fat cheese, and yogurt are great for your kid’s teeth and for their general health, too.
These snacks help with saliva production, which can in turn help wash away the cavity-causing bacteria from sugary foods.
Snacking smart isn’t just helpful to protect your kid’s oral health during the holidays. Tooth-healthy snacks can help keep their smiles bright all year.