Holiday Season is Here: Seven Tips for a Teeth Healthy Holiday
Halloween itself has come and gone, but probably not the enormous bag of candied goodies your kids have managed to acquire. And honestly, we’re just winding up to the most wonderful time of the year. Most wonderful for family fun and joyous feelings, but not the most wonderful time of the year for your teeth.
As the leaves on the trees turn and then fall, our holiday spirit lifts and typically with it, our sugar intake. This time of year doesn’t have to result in cavities, and no we’re aren’t suggesting you throw away their Halloween candy treasure trove. We don’t even mean you need to try the onerous task of enforcing your kids to abstain while they are surrounded with goodies everywhere they go. So, what are we recommending for you to do? Here, we’ve put together a list of seven things you can do to ensure your kids get through the glorious holiday season with their beautiful smiles healthy and happy.
Seven Tips for a Teeth Healthy Holiday Season
- Control the Halloween Treasure Trove
Don’t just throw away all of their Halloween candy, instead take control of it. Place limits on how many pieces of their candy they can have per day. Caramels and marshmallows are particularly bad for your teeth as they really like to stick. If you can, sort through the candy and throw away pieces that aren’t their favorites, or any pieces that seem to be of lower quality.
- Enjoy Goodies in Moderation
Homemade pies, brownies and cookies are not only fun to eat, but they’re fun to make as well. Don’t give up this pleasurable activity, just enjoy it in moderation. Instead of your kids eating all the fresh baked cookies in one day, give them a couple, and save some for the next few days, and if you still have more, consider sharing with a neighbor or friend.
Alternatively, if the baking of the goodies isn’t something you or your family do, keep yourself in check when you’re at the stores. Don’t be drawn in to all the bright holiday packaging. Place limits on yourself for how much sugary desserts you buy.
- Play Around with Recipes
For those of you who do the baking, take a moment to consider your recipes. Many recipes have high levels of sugar. Perhaps you will find that those brownies are still sweet enough but with less sugar than the recipe calls for. Moreover, can you use a sugar alternative such as honey, applesauce, or mashed bananas?
The internet has revolutionized our lives in many ways, and one of those ways can be access to healthier baking recipes. You’ll be shocked to see how many sugar free or sugar alternative recipes there are out there in the internet universe that are absolutely delicious.
Play around with your own recipes, or try new ones. You just might find new favorites that are even healthier.
- Swap Out Candy for Fruit When You Can
Fruits have the benefit of being naturally sweet without the processed sugars of candy. Consider some of your Christmas or Thanksgiving traditions. For example: do you normally include candy in Christmas stockings or gifts? Do you leave out cookies for Santa to eat? Perhaps Santa will be tired of eating cookies in every single house, and would appreciate a sandwich or some fresh fruit for variety instead?
- Drink Lots of Water (with Fluoride)
With the influx of sweets and sugars in the form of food, it’s important not to forget about what your kids are drinking. Limit sodas, sport drinks, and juices as much as you can, and focus on water with fluoride. Bottled water is better than the juices or sodas but doesn’t have fluoride added. You want the water with fluoride because fluoride is an integral defense for dental health. Follow up snacking and sweets with a good drink of water. Water will help rinse out your mouth and remove the larger chunks of leftover sugary foods that get stuck in between teeth. Find some fun holiday-decorated refillable water bottles, or choose some that have your kids’ favorite character or superhero and keep those babies handy.
- Have Set Eating Times and Avoid Grazing
What do we mean by grazing? By grazing, we mean those days when you just casually snack here and there throughout the day. Holiday times are notorious for grazing because a lot of people and places have candy dishes just sitting out, and it’s so easy to snag a treat whenever you walk by. The problem with grazing is that it causes a continuous assault on your teeth of sugar and bacteria. Work on sticking with a schedule for meals and snacks, and put that candy bowl out of sight and out of mind.
- Brush and Floss Routinely
You knew we would end with this one, didn’t you? However, many times you’ve heard us say it in the office, this list wouldn’t be complete without it being stated again. Holidays often mean late nights, and tired kids when you get home. Don’t, no matter how tempting, skip the brushing and flossing routine for your kids. They’re teeth are running a gamut during the holidays and it’s your job (and your kids’ job) to give them a good brushing at least twice a day, and a good flossing. We’ll even go so far to suggest that during this time of year, you bump up the number of times they’re brushing. If you can get them to brush their teeth sometime during the day, on a day when there’s been a lot of grazing (hello, Thanksgiving anyone?) their teeth will be grateful.
If you’re concerned that your kid might already have a cavity, or they’re simply due for a cleaning and checkup, give us a call! We’re here for you during the holidays and happy to see the kids of our communities and hear about their holiday plans.