The holidays are usually full of family fun, special events, cheerful music, delicious meals and ample sweet treats of all types. Did you know that the bacteria in your mouth feeds on sugar and carbohydrates from items like breads, cakes, cookies and candies? When this happens, these bacteria release acids that attack tooth enamel. This can eventually lead to cavities for dessert lovers of all ages.
As a parent, how can you help your children maintain good oral health during a time of year filled with bounteous delights? We’re not suggesting you or your kiddos give up holiday sweet treats this year, but it is important to remember a few tips and tricks to keep everyone’s oral health in good shape during the upcoming season of sugar overload:
Remember to brush and floss: The holidays can be a busy time full of special activities and late-to-bed nights for kids. No matter what your schedule, be sure that all members of the family thoroughly brush and floss at least twice a day.
Schedule regular checkups: Don’t let the busy holiday season keep you from scheduling regular dental checkups for all members of your family. Generally speaking, everyone should be visiting the dentist every six months for dental cleaning and an overall checkup. Schedule visits now and keep your appointments. Regular, routine care helps prevent larger, future problems.
Practice moderation: The holidays feature special family meals, unique treats, gifts of candy or baked goods and a seemingly endless supply of sugar in every form. It is important to teach children to practice moderation for both their overall health and oral health. Stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and lean proteins. Offer meals and snacks that feature healthy and tooth-friendly choices to help balance the sweet treats that will inevitably appear during seasonal celebrations.
Indulge intentionally: No matter what time of year, nibbling sweet or starchy foods or sipping sweet drinks over an extended period of time is bad for your teeth. When you do so, you are basically coating your teeth again and again with the sugary and carbohydrate-rich substances that promote tooth decay. It’s better to enjoy that hot chocolate, cookie or candy in one sitting. Brush your teeth afterwards or drink a large glass of water to cleanse your mouth.
Consider healthy substitutions: It can be tempting to fill your plate with all of the sugary, tasty, unhealthy treats that the holidays offer, but consider adding in a green salad, some fresh fruit or another healthy substitution on your plate. You will still enjoy the flavors and treats of the season, but adding in some healthy alternatives will provide you with a little balance.
Drink water: An important tip to remember any time of year, drinking an ample supply of water throughout the day encourages saliva flow, rinses away food debris, keeps you from mindlessly nibbling and neutralizes plaque acids in your mouth. No matter what your age, keep a glass or bottle of water nearby and sip often.
Every day is a good day to pay careful attention to your oral health. Adults and children should maintain careful daily oral care habits and see their dentist regularly for checkups. And if problems arise, don’t wait to seek help. Early detection and good care can prevent additional, more painful, more expensive issues. Today, many oral health care providers employ many tricks and tools to ensure that your dental visits are as comfortable and anxiety-free as possible. To learn more about painless dental procedures, visit dentalvibe.com to find a DentalVibe dentist near you.
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