How To Prevent Tooth Decay In Children During The Holidays

‘Tis the season for holiday cheer, Christmas pudding, cookies and candy, and all of the other sweets that come along with it! Unfortunately, too many sweets can seriously damage the teeth of our little ones. If you’re concerned about your kiddos’ holiday diets and the tooth decay they might cause, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn how to prevent tooth decay in children during the holidays.

Preventing Tooth Decay This Holiday Season

With a bit of preparation and extra precautions, you can ensure your kids stay on the ‘nice list’ at the dentist’s office this holiday season. Here’s what to do:

Limit Sugar Intake

The easiest way to keep sugar bugs out of your kids’ teeth is to limit their sugar intake. Any parent knows this is no easy feat, but there are some hacks to do it. For example, offer them a side that’s good for their teeth, like apples to dip into their chocolate fondue. Another good idea is giving them a small plate and telling them they can only have sugary sweets that fit on the plate. Even reducing their sugar intake by a little will go a long way when it comes to cavity prevention.

If you’re struggling to decide which sweet treat to offer your kids, think about how long it will be in their mouths. A candy cane will be in your child’s mouth a lot longer as they suck through all of the sugary goodness compared to a chocolate truffle that they will chew, swallow, and be done with. Remember, the longer they’re exposed to sugar, the more time it has to wreak havoc on their teeth.

Serve Dessert with Dinner

Dessert with dinner may sound like a dream to your child and a nightmare to you, but it’s actually an excellent idea when it comes to oral health. When you serve dessert at the same time as dinner, it helps prevent sugar from lingering on the teeth and allowing plaque to build up. The longer sugar stays on the teeth, the more damage it can cause. When your little one eats dessert last and then runs off to play, the sugar has all night to hang out on their teeth. By serving it as part of the meal, they may take a bite of the sugar-laden snack and then wash it down with a vegetable or some milk. Plus, you can have them brush their teeth right after dinner before they are released to play with some new toys, open a present, decorate the tree, etc.

Brush and Rinse 

A good habit for the whole family to get into is brushing and rinsing after eating sweets. If you’re at a holiday party or on the go, make sure your little ones have a drink of water with them as they snack. Drinking water while snacking can help rinse the sugar off their teeth and reduce the risk of plaque building up and causing cavities. Avoid sugary soft drinks and juice. Milk is another tooth-healthy alternative if your child doesn’t like drinking water. Milk has the added benefit of neutralising acids from acidic foods that may cause damage to teeth.

If you’re at home or are ambitious enough to pack toothbrushes for your holiday gatherings out of the house, brushing teeth after eating sweets is the most effective cavity prevention step. Tooth brushing removes the sugar particles from the teeth, preventing them from sticking to and between teeth and forming cavities. 

But, don’t have your children brush their teeth immediately after eating sugary sweets. Wait 15 minutes to half an hour because the sugar can make teeth sensitive and rub away the enamel. A short waiting period allows enamel to harden and paves the way for safe brushing.

Schedule a Holiday Dental Visit

Just like adults, children should visit the dentist every six to 12 months. Scheduling an appointment around the holidays can ensure your kids’ teeth get an excellent deep cleaning and help teach them the importance of dental hygiene. Your dentist may even have a holiday tip or two to help prevent tooth decay during this decadent season!

We know how hard it can be to resist sweets during this time, especially for little ones filled with wonder and excitement. But, the good news is that with these cavity prevention tips, your kids should still be able to enjoy the tastes of the season without compromising their oral health.

Dental on York Can Help

Whether you’re concerned about recent tooth pain or sensitivity that your kids are experiencing, or you want to get them in for a pre or post-holiday cleaning, Dental on York is here for you. We have more than 35 years of experience helping the great people of Sydney keep their teeth in tip-top shape. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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