For many kids, the winter holidays are a happy and magical time of year. They receive presents, enjoy playing in the snow, and of course, eat holiday treats! While the season focuses on happy celebrations, the last thing you want is a dental emergency for your child.
Sugary Treat Problems
Most children love eating cookies, candies, and desserts, but these sugary snacks can promote cavities and plaque formation. Sugar is a major food source for cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. When the bacteria feed, they produce acid that eats tooth enamel, resulting in decay or cavities. Eating hard candies and chewy caramel can expose teeth to sugar for a prolonged period of time.
Tips to Keep Teeth in Top Shape
Protect your children’s teeth from potential dental disasters:
1. Brushing and flossing – The first line of defense against cavities and bad breath is to urge kids to brush teeth twice a day. Brushing helps kill harmful bacteria, and prevents plaque and tartar buildup. If a toothbrush isn’t readily available at a party, rinse with water and use the floss portion of a “floss pick” to remove small food particles stuck between teeth.
2. Limit sugary treats – Decorated baked goods can be extremely tempting. While you may not completely prevent children from eating sweet treats, limit the amount of sugar they consume. Keep holiday treats hidden or appease a sweet tooth with fresh fruit (and rinse with water after eating).
3. Don’t use teeth to open presents or crack nuts – Give the appropriate tools to open gifts or nuts. Using teeth can cause a cracked or chipped tooth.
4. Drink Water – As mentioned before, have kids drink a glass of water (or “swish and swallow”) after eating treats and fruit. This helps remove acid or prevent its production in their mouth.
The holiday season and New Year should not be a time to worry about your kids’ dental health. Visit your local dentist for a quick checkup when children have time off from school. Call Lambton Family Dental at (519) 344-5747 to learn about our services and preventive dental care for children this year.