The holidays are coming! It's during this time that many children over-indulge with sugary desserts and sticky candies. These eating foods can lead to formation of cavities and other dental hygiene problems that can last into the new year. You can prevent dental problems for your child by helping him or her develop good dental hygiene habits and holiday snacking habits.
Brush or Chew Gum After Eating Snacks
Brushing after eating a snack can help wash away the sugary bits left on your child's teeth when he or she is done eating. If possible, carry a travel tooth brush and tooth paste to holiday parties so your child can quietly excuse him or herself to the bathroom to brush teeth after eating. If your child is resistant to this, or if your child is too young to brush teeth unassisted, give your child a piece of sugarless gum that bears the seal of the American Dental Association after he or she is finished with snacks.
Avoid Sticky Sweets
Some snacks are worse for your child's teeth than others. Sticky sweets can cling to your child's teeth with particular stubbornness and may even be hard to remove by brushing or chewing gum. Some of the stickiest and most difficult-to-remove holiday snacks include:
- Pecan pie
- Hard candies (if your child chews them), including candy canes
Avoid making these snacks in your home, and encourage your child not to eat these snacks while in the homes of others. If you notice your child is attracted to any of these foods, suggest alternatives that would appease your child and be better for his or her teeth.
Serve Balanced Snacks
Whether you're loading your child's snack plate at a holiday event or serving your child a few holiday treats in your own kitchen, serve your child balanced snacks that combine healthy foods with not-so-healthy foods. For example, if you're serving your child some cookies, add crunchy vegetables (like carrots or broccoli) to the plate. Crunchy vegetables help get your child's saliva flowing, which ultimately helps clean out your child's mouth as he or she snacks.
Make a Dental Appointment Before Holiday Events
Make an appointment for your child with your family dentist before your holiday celebrations begin. This will help ensure that your child's teeth are slick and clean before big holiday feasts, which will make it less likely that sugary foods will stick to your child's teeth. Having a dental appointment before the holidays will also give your family dentist like Killar Curt DDS a chance to correct any dental problems that your child may be having before he or she eats all those sweets.