This holiday season, take some time amongst all the busyness to keep your child’s smile safe and healthy. Whether it is the tantalizing treats they love this time of year, the wintery sports they play or the gifts you give them, make sure their teeth are protected despite the hecticness of the holidays. After all, one of the best gifts you can give your child is a healthy smile and growing self-confidence!
Seasonal Safety First
Whether they love ice skating, playing ice hockey, sledding, snowboarding or skiing during the holidays or on family trips, it is important to keep your child’s teeth and mouth safe from accidental injury. Along with any other protective gear like helmets and goggles, a mouthguard can protect their smile: both teeth and soft oral tissues. You purchase a custom athletic guard or over-the-counter boil-and-bite guard online or at your local drugstore, grocery store or sporting goods store. Their smile is worth it!
Ideally, you could help your child enjoy the traditional goodies of the season by making sure they are sugar-free. But when that is not possible, limit their sweets and make sure they brush and floss so they do not risk tooth decay and cavities. Advent calendars are fun but try finding calendars filled with tiny toys or non-sugary treats instead of the usual sweet chocolates and candies (especially hard candy that can crack or chip teeth or sticky gumdrops). You can also count down the holidays with a nightly story or book reading instead.
Offer tooth-friendly goodies like these:
- Dark chocolate
- Sugar-free gum and sugar-free candy
- Cool stickers
If your child cannot brush their teeth after eating sweets, remind them to drink plenty of water to rinse out their mouth or chew sugar-free gum until they can come home and brush their teeth to remove sugar-feasting oral bacteria.
Tooth-Friendly Holiday Foods
-Holiday turkey is great for your child’s smile, as turkey is loaded with protein, nutrients and phosphorus (which is like calcium). It also strengthens tooth enamel. Holiday ham contains zinc that helps replenish your child’s gumline tissue.
-While hard nuts can damage teeth, soft nuts like pecans, cashews and macadamia nuts are good for them with their high levels of calcium and protein while being low in sugar.
-Cheese provides calcium to strengthen teeth while dairy protein helps prevent cavities so let your child enjoy their favorite mozzarella sticks, cheddar blocks and more.
-Colorful raw veggies such as vibrant and crunchy broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, celery, jicama and radishes nurture teeth and gums.
-Seasonal fruit is loaded with healthy vitamins and antioxidants that are good for the gums. Your child can enjoy their favorite fruits like apples, pears, grapes, kiwis, pomegranates and strawberries.
Make sure your child drinks plenty of water to keep their mouth hydrated for healthy saliva levels that prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Limit or ban sugar-filled drinks, including juices, sodas and sports drinks.
Tooth-Friendly Gifts and Stocking Stuffers
- Fun floss picks they can easily use
- Flavored toothpaste
- Fun toothbrushes for kids
- Electric toothbrush with cartoon characters or cool colors for kids and teens
- Teeth whitening kits or toothpaste for teens
- Fun traveling toothbrush case for traveling or sleepovers
- Cute toothpaste dispenser for kids
- Toys and children’s books for kids about dental health
Routine Dental Care
Even though you are busy this time of year, take the time to enjoy these precious moments with your child and encourage them to brush and floss every day as recommended. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily and using mouthwash afterward can all help keep cavities away from their growing smile. This is also the time of year to get their last dental cleaning and exam of the year if you haven’t already. We will remove any plaque build-up, polish and fortify their teeth and check for any developing problems. Your child’s healthy smile is the greatest gift you can give them!