The holiday season is the time for joy and cheer! It’s when the family comes together and enjoys their time off with one another. It also means heaps and heaps of food. Some of these foods—sweets and sugary drinks, in particular—are incredibly harmful to the teeth, especially for the young ones. We’re not saying that they shouldn’t enjoy the holiday spirit, but as parents, you should be mindful of their behavior and the long-term effects that poor dental hygiene can result in. By teaching them the fundamentals of how to care for their teeth, they will have a better foundation to base their actions off when they grow up.
With that said, here are our five tips on how to keep your children’s teeth healthy during this holiday season.
Brush and Floss Regularly
It should go without saying that brushing and flossing is essential for having a healthy set of teeth. This is even more important during the season where food is in abundance, as the speed of plaque buildup correlates with the amount of food you consume. Also, the holiday season is filled with sugary and starchy dishes like hot cocoa with marshmallows and mashed potatoes. It’s not hard to see why it’s so important to make sure that your children brush their teeth after every meal and as often as necessary. Plaque buildup is the biggest contributor to the development of cavities, so you need to make sure you do all you can to get rid of it as much as possible. By teaching your children the right dental hygiene care process, you’ll set up a habit that they will keep for the rest of their lives. A little bit of extra effort is worth it for the long run, trust us.
A Pediatric Dentist is Your Friend
Although all licensed dentists know how to do a rudimentary checkup for your children’s teeth, sometimes it’s better to have a specialist do it. A pediatric dentist has a more thorough understanding of the development of children’s teeth and jaw bone structure. This expertise helps them to foresee an issue that a generalized dentist could miss. They also have been trained specifically to take care of children, meaning that they know how to calm children down if they show signs of distress or anxiety. The extra bit of care goes a long way in preventing dental anxiety in the future. If you haven’t booked an appointment with a pediatric dentist this year, you may want to do it before the holiday season kicks in or immediately after it.
Everything in Moderation
There’s so much food to be had during the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean that you should allow your children to devour all the sweets in sight. As an adult, you should understand how important self-control and moderation are, as an excessive amount of anything can have a detrimental effect on your health. Make sure your child understands why they can only eat so much junk food, as that’s important for their health both in the current state and in the future.
Set Up a Dedicated Snack Break
This might come as a surprise for most, but it’s actually better to consume the sugary foods all at once than to enjoy a small bit every few hours. The acid that’s produced by the bacteria in your mouth is the most potent for around 30 minutes before it subsides. If your child has a habit of grazing their food or taking small sips of sugary drinks throughout the day, you will have to set up a designated time for them to eat their sweets. Not only that this will stop them from grazing on sugary foods, but you will also have more control over how much snacks they eat as well.
Make Healthy Swaps Here and There
You have to have a variety of food for your children to consume and not allow them to over-consume sugary and fatty foods. Keep some fruits and vegetable in your cabinet so that you can make a variety of healthy dishes to offset the unhealthy stuff. If your child is persistent about eating unhealthy foods, you can try to make a healthier variation of the same food. For example, instead of using processed sugar in your apple pie, you can replace it with honey at half the quantity. There are a ton of other recipes like this, and while they may not necessarily be good for your children’s dental health, they’re not nearly as bad.
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