How to Keep Your Children’s Teeth Healthy During the Holidays
Every parent loves to see the joy on their child’s face as they get their first piece of Halloween candy, that first slice of pumpkin pie, or candy canes on Christmas morning. Too often, though, children splurge on sweets while parents forget to encourage brushing their teeth.
Holiday Dental Tips for Kids
Rather than avoid the sugar all together this holiday season, use these tips to teach your kids how to have healthy teeth. Making this a habit while they are young will set your kids on the right path to dental health.
- Brush twice a day. Brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time is the best way to avoid common problems like plaque build-up and cavities. The best times are after your child has finished eating breakfast and right before bed, but pick a time that fits with your daily habits. Once you feel they are ready, give your kids the responsibility of remembering to brush morning and night – it may take a few tries for the habit to stick.
- Avoid sugary foods. Along with brushing, cutting out foods such as chocolate, hard candies and other sweets helps prevent cavities. However, it’s all about moderation – no child will want to give up eating candy for good. When eating sweets in excess, such as Halloween and Christmas, be sure to remind your children why having healthy teeth is so important.
- Remember to floss. Once teeth begin to touch, begin flossing your children’s teeth daily to help prevent cavities where the teeth meet. Skipping this step leaves pieces of food behind that a toothbrush isn’t able to reach. It’s better to start making this a habit early in life than after a cavity strikes.
- Be a role model. Children learn from their parents, beginning in infancy. Instill good oral habits by having them join you during your brushing routine. Demonstrate good brushing, flossing and rinsing skills while practicing the same skills with your little ones.
- Make it fun. Do something fun that will engage your kids and make them want to brush their teeth every day. A reward or sticker system gives positive reinforcement, or make things silly with decorations on the mirror, toothpaste and your kid’s toothbrush. Try putting a bulls-eye in the sink to encourage spitting, not swallowing, of toothpaste and mouthwash.