It’s the time of year when we all indulge in our favorite sweet and sticky foods. The good news is that your child can enjoy these delicious delicacies free from the worry of damaging their teeth by taking a few extra steps.
- Allow your child to have juice/sodas, sour/sticky candy and bread in moderation and increase their water intake – Water helps saliva do a better job of naturally flushing bacteria out of your child’s mouth. While we are big advocates of moderation, too much juice can leave sugar on teeth that can lead to decay. In fact, The American Heart Association recommends children ages 2 to 18 limit sugar-sweetened drinks to 8 oz. total per week. In addition, sour and chewy candy can stick to teeth longer than others. Acid in the sour candy can break down the enamel. Bread can become a gummy paste and stick to the crevices of the teeth. Saliva breaks the starch down to sugar. This may cause decay over time. Again, water and proper brushing and flossing can stave off the damage these foods and drinks may cause. Water aids in washing away damaging sugars that sit on your teeth. Drinking a lot of water is also beneficial to overall health as it helps with hydration and keeps breath smelling fresher.
- Don’t let your child use his/her teeth as a tool – Just say no to opening toys or chestnuts with teeth! Your child’s teeth are sensitive and if utilized the wrong way, they can crack or chip. This is just as important for primary teeth as for secondary teeth. Hand your child the scissors, can opener, and/or other kitchen tools to help them open holiday treats.
- Have a routine – With extra time off comes more rest, but do not forget to brush twice daily and floss once per day. When you indulge more, you may be increasing your risk for cavities, so keeping your brushing and flossing routine the same as a normal day, will help you stave off any openings for bacteria to lead to decay.
- Travel wisely – If you will be visiting friends or family during the holidays, don’t forget to pack your child’s floss, antibacterial mouthwash, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Since you will be traveling, it’s likely his or her toothbrush may not have the same cozy spot as it does in your own home. Keep toothbrushes sanitized by swishing them into some antibacterial mouthwash, for 30 seconds. If you don’t have access to mouthwash, use two teaspoons of baking soda mixed with one cup of water instead. You can also soak them in white vinegar once per week.
- Don’t put off dental procedures – if your child needs a dental procedure, now is the time! Utilize your dental benefits to their maximum before they are reinstated in 2023. Otherwise, you will be leaving benefits you already paid for in 2022 on the table.
- Have fun – Again, we are big advocates of moderation. If you use the techniques above, your child’s oral health should thrive during the holidays, but if you do run into an emergency, ask us for a reference whom you can contact in the city you will be visiting.
Make sure you take this holiday season to spend time with your family, unwind and rejuvenate! Sending you and your families the warmest holiday wishes and prayers for a healthy new year!
Pediatric Dental Associates of Alabama is led by top-rated pediatric dentists with locations in Birmingham, Cullman, Hoover, Medplex, Oxford, and Pell City. When looking for your child’s dentist, know that we aspire to be the premier provider of pediatric dental services in Alabama. We also provide orthodontics in our Hoover, Medplex, and Cullman locations. Beautiful smiles are our specialty!