The winter holidays are a time when most people indulge in lots of sweet treats and tempting goodies — in other words, sugary foods and beverages that can wreak havoc on teeth. Children especially enjoy this time of year when cookies and candies abound, but their teeth can suffer when not properly cared for. With a little diligence, though, kids can enjoy the treats of the winter holidays without having a mouth full of cavities in January. Here are some ways to help your children keep their teeth healthy throughout the holiday season.
Brush and Floss Regularly
The foundation of healthy dental hygiene, no matter what time of year it is, is a regular regimen of brushing and flossing. Children can usually start brushing their own teeth with adult supervision when they’re 2 or 3 years old, which is just about the age when they can reach the tray of holiday cookies. If your children aren’t ready to brush their own teeth, you should brush their pearly whites for them. Flossing should begin as soon as children have two teeth that are touching. Floss picks are a good option for children who don’t have the dexterity to use regular floss.
Reduce Snacking During the Day
It might be difficult to resist snacking on treats all day long, but limiting sweets to mealtime desserts will help prevent tooth decay. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, snacking throughout the day increases the risk of cavities. There may be several reasons for this:
Kids who snack might consume more sugars than kids who don’t snack
Snacking hours before brushing teeth lets sugars remain in the mouth
Sugary foods are less detrimental to teeth when eaten along with healthy foods
In addition to limiting sweets to immediately after meals, you should also plan on brushing your kids’ teeth shortly after they’ve had their treats. This will ensure that sugars don’t remain in their mouths for hours. Additionally, setting up this expectation might reduce how often you hear, “can I have a cookie?”
Look for Sweets that Don’t Stick
You can further reduce how much sugar sits on your children’s teeth by encouraging them to choose sweets that don’t stick to them. For instance, dark chocolate will be less detrimental than a caramel or candy cane. Keep this in mind as you shop for presents, and suggest the less-sticky alternatives when you’re at parties.
See a Pediatric Dentist in January
Even when diligently caring for your children’s teeth at home, seeing a kids dentist is an important aspect of routine dental care. A pediatric dentist can clean your children’s teeth, remove any plaque that builds up, check for cavities and help teach good dental hygiene. January is the perfect time to schedule an appointment at Wright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry to make sure the holidays didn't take a toll on your children's teeth.
If you’d like to have your kids’ teeth cleaned after the holidays, contact us today to set up an appointment. We are currently accepting new patients and would be happy to help keep your children's teeth healthy.