Steps That Will Keep Your Kid’s Dentist Happy During the Winter Holidays

Tooth Character

The winter holidays can be a great time to be a kid. Children go from dressing up and enjoying candy during Halloween, to visiting family and eating delicious desserts for Thanksgiving, to opening presents and candy stocking stuffers at Christmas time. Winter is when kids have frequent opportunities to eat more sweet foods than they usually do. What does a kid’s dentist advise to help a child who may not have a lot of impulse control to prevent cavities even at this sweetest time of the year?

One of the most important things a parent can do to assist their children is to ensure that the children brush their teeth twice a day and don’t eat sugary foods or carbohydrates or drink sugary or carbonated drinks after they brush in the evening. Parents should supervise the brushing of children’s teeth until they are at least 8 years old. Anytime a child has two teeth touching, the child should floss at least twice a day and should be supervised in this until they are 8 as well.

Parents should be active in monitoring what their children eat. Usually, it is best that children don’t snack more than three times a day. Although it is usually advisable to have children snack on foods other than just sweets, the winter holidays do bring out more opportunities to snack on less healthy foods. The most important thing is to not let children eat all through the day and to have them avoid sugary sweets after evening brushing and flossing.

Even milk has sugars that can get between the teeth and cause cavities if a child drinks it after the evening tooth-brushing. Also, sometimes parents will allow more carbonated drinks over the holidays. These can actually cause more damage than a normal sugary beverage, as the acidity of the carbonation can cause an erosion of the enamel as well as the sugar in it can increase the likelihood of a cavity. Often, juices have more sugar in them than parents realize, so reading labels is very important for a child’s tooth care.  Natural sugars are just as hard on our teeth as the refined sugars we use in cooking, baking, etc.

A healthy snack for a child’s teeth is cheese, such as aged cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, and Monterrey jack. Not only are these cheeses healthier for teeth than sugary snacks, but they also work to clear the mouth of hidden food while neutralizing acids that can harm teeth.

Just because sugary snacks are not healthy for teeth doesn’t mean kids should never eat them.  Just make sure if they are eating sugary or less healthy snacks that they brush when they are done to avoid cavities.  Parents need to be involved and help ensure that their children’s teeth are healthy and their habits are good.