Your kids’ downward dental slide starts with all of that sweet and delicious Halloween candy and gets progressively worse as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s come along. Although it might seem like a losing battle, there are some things you can do to help your children survive this time of year relatively unscathed and cavity-free.
Be Smart About Chewy Treats
The holidays are a time for celebration and spoiling yourself, but that doesn’t mean you should allow your kids to have free rein over what they eat. If you choose to let them have a sweet here and there, be smart about quantity.
When they do indulge, encourage them to accompany the candy with a piece of apple or a carrot stick as well as a glass of water to minimize the taffy and other sugars sticking to their teeth. Finally, encourage your kids to bring their toothbrushes with them if they know they will be snacking on chocolates or caramels.
Use Teeth For Their Intended Purpose
Kids love to put things in their mouths, and we’re not just talking about babies. This is especially true if they are in a hurry to rip open the stubborn fastenings of a package or box. Doing so can lead to broken teeth that require extensive repairs. Instead, keep a good pair of scissors handy.
Don’t Believe the Myth About Hard Candies
Many people think it is preferable to crunch on hard candy instead of biting into sticky sweets. In reality, biting down on Jawbreakers and the like often leads to chipped teeth. The same is true of ice cubes. Therefore, it is best to encourage your kids to suck on the candy or ice until it has totally dissolved or, better yet, not to eat it at all.
Say No to Nuts
Nuts are both delicious and nutritious in moderation, but cracking them with your teeth is a recipe for disaster. Don’t allow your children to attempt this feat. Opt instead for a nutcracker, or purchase nuts that are pre-shelled.
Find Healthy Diversions
The holiday season often features several days of freedom from the regular routine of school. In many geographical areas, the weather can also contribute to keeping your kids inside, restless and bored. In situations like this, many people, children and adults alike, resort to eating junk food out of boredom. Be proactive this winter by finding healthier diversions such as games, movies and even the occasional dreaded household chore to keep small hands out of the fridge and the cookie jar.
Don’t Forget About Your Kids’ Regular Oral Care Routine
When it gets crazy around the house, it’s easy to lose track of even the simplest things, including when or even whether your children have flossed and brushed their teeth. Making these habitual tasks a priority even during the most frenetic days can be beneficial in two ways: It will continue to promote cavity-free mouths as well as laying the groundwork for a lifetime of consistent oral care.
Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and the many other celebrations that take place at this time of year can be fun and memorable. Taking a few extra minutes to safeguard your kids’ dental health will enable them to savor the joys of the season without suffering negative oral consequences in the months to come. That just might be one of the best gifts they receive this year.