By Dr. Saleh Al-Daghreer on Nov 13 2019
The holidays are a time of cheer, goodwill and a lot of food. It can be hard to turn down a sweet treat when they are everywhere you go, so imagine how hard it is for your kids. During the holiday season, oral hygiene might not be the first thing on their mind and that is okay! Throughout this blog, we will help you gently guide your child back to remembering the importance of a healthy mouth all year long.
Make oral hygiene fun
Taking steps to ensure your child understands the importance of good oral hygiene is key to a healthy mouth right through adulthood, so have fun with it! This is something you will want them to remember for years to come and the best way to do that is to make a fun and lasting impression. There are many ways you can make brushing fun for your child, here are some of our favorites:
- Seasonal Toothbrush
- Sing festive songs while brushing
- Use festive stickers as a reward
Making oral hygiene seem less like a chore and more as an activity will keep your child looking forward to taking care of their mouths. Encouraging brushing and flossing through creative approaches that are keeping with the seasons and the upcoming holidays is a great way to keep your child on their toes and excited to take care of their smile.
Have a Sugar Free Christmas Countdown
Switch things up this year and replace an old tradition with a new one. Advent calendars are a popular way for children to count down the days to Christmas and get into the holiday spirit, but they can also cause tooth decay and cavities if you’re not careful. This year try out one of these sugar-free countdowns:
- A story every night
- Small toys
Your child will forget all about the sweet treats and will look forward to making new traditions. Involving them in your decision-making process for a sugar-free countdownsw3 can be a fun way for them to feel included and make the most of the new tradition.
Stay Away From Hard Candy
Candy canes, gumdrops and other sweet treats seem to be everywhere during the holiday season. It can be hard to walk away from a sweet treat for everyone, but educating your child on the importance of good oral hygiene will allow them to make better decisions for their health. These sugary treats lead to cavities and tooth decay very quickly, that’s why it is important to encourage your child to choose tooth healthy snacks like these ones:
- Dark Chocolate
- Raw Veggies
- Sugar-Free snacks (gum/candy
If your child wishes to consume some sugary treats, it is important they do so between meals to protect their teeth to the best of their abilities. It is also important that they brush their teeth after they have had sugary snacks. If they are not able to brush their teeth right away, drinking tap water or chewing on sugar-free gum is a great way to fight off tooth decay until they can get home to their toothbrush.
Say Yes to More Turkey
Christmas is an exciting time for everyone. For some, it’s the gift of giving they enjoy the most and for others, it’s indulging in a holiday feast with friends and family. Turkey dinners during the holiday season are common in most households and to many people's surprise, it’s a tooth-healthy meal! Turkey is full of nutrients and contains phosphorus which is similar to calcium, it is a great way to strengthen tooth enamel. Here are a few other tooth-healthy foods your family with love this holiday season:
- Sweet Potatoes
Encouraging your children from a young age to opt for tooth-healthy food will have a positive impact on their gums and adult teeth. It is equally as important to remind them that brushing their teeth after any meal is crucial to their well being.
Upgrade Brushing Routine
Getting caught up in holiday baking, spending time with family and festive parties is a great way to spend the holiday. During this time of year, your children will be more exposed to sweets for a longer period of time than any other holiday, even Halloween! Upgrading their oral health care routine is a great way to prevent tooth decay, cavities as well as any other unwanted toothaches. Here are some ways to improve your child's oral health care routine during the holidays:
- Brush three times a day
- Always use mouthwash after brushing
- Floss at least once a day
By taking these preventative measures, your child will be less likely to fall victim to a sore tooth which leaves you and them more time to spend the holidays doing what you love the most.
Drink More Water
Water is a great drink of choice for your child's teeth! Though festive parties may have tempting, sugar-filled drinks, it’s important to remind your child to steer clear from sugary juices and sodas all year long. Water is more beneficial to your child’s teeth and overall health whereas:
- It will hydrate you
- Fluoride in water will clean your teeth
- It strengthens teeth
It also gives you glowing skin and helps keep your muscles moving in good health, it is an all-around good and healthy choice for your entire body. Bringing a water bottle to an event where you might find tempting drinks is a great way to keep your child on track with their healthy smile.
Replace Old Tooth Brush
Right before the holiday's kick-off is a great time to replace your child's old toothbrush with a new one. Being exposed to sweet treats over a long period of time will require a lot of brushing and what better way to get excited about brushing then with a new toothbrush? Some fun ways you can involve your child in their oral health care routine is by:
- Letting them pick out a new toothbrush
- Trying flavored floss
- Brush to the beat of their favorite song
It is important to swap out your toothbrush for a new one every 3-4 months or after someone has had a cold. You can tell when a toothbrush will no longer thoroughly clean your teeth if the bristles appear to be frayed.
Go to Regularly Scheduled Dental Cleanings
Although this may seem like it is the busiest time of the year it is important not to fall out of your routine. Not only do children thrive on routine, but so do their teeth! Making time for regularly scheduled cleanings with your child's dentist is very important all year long. Some things your child's dentist might look for during a cleaning around the holidays include but are not limited to:
- A build-up of Plaque/Tartar
- Tooth decay
A pediatric dentist will look for a number of different things in your child's developing mouth that could impact their adult teeth and gums. That is why it is important that your child sees them regularly, making sure they are on track to adulthood with a healthy smile is key.