The holidays are a great time to reset, rest, and enjoy your time together. But with them comes an added risk to your child’s oral health! Here are a few tips from Dr. Houri to keep your child’s smile healthy this holiday season.
1. Make Sure Everyone is Drinking Enough Water
Did you know that all of us tend to drink less water during the winter? Water helps flush away bacteria, acids, and food debris. Keep fun holiday cups or refillable bottles handy for every member of the family. Encourage your child to drink tap water throughout the day to stay hydrated and get their recommended fluoride intake.
2. Keep Some Healthy Snacks on Hand
With all of the holiday goodies your family will be enjoying, make sure to have some healthy ones around too. Sharp cheddar cheese and crispy apples are a couple of great examples. Balance your Christmas cookies and candies with fresh fruits and vegetables or dried nuts, which are great for teeth and gums.
3. Have Your Child Rinse with Fluoride Before Bed
Fluoride helps remineralize weak areas of tooth enamel. If your child’s teeth are starting to decalcify because of plaque buildup, fluoride can strengthen those areas before a physical cavity forms. Rinsing with fluoride right before bedtime ensures longer contact-time on their teeth. Just be sure to have them rinse after they brush and floss.
4. Choose Smart Stocking Stuffers
Looking for some fun yet healthy ways to stuff your child’s stocking this Christmas? Consider getting them an electric toothbrush. For kids who are still learning to tie their shoes or have braces on their teeth, an electric toothbrush can give them a big head start on improved oral hygiene.
Xylitol gum is another great stocking stuffer for older children and teens. Xylitol limits plaque buildup on teeth for fresher breath and a cleaner smile. Chewing it between meals can statistically lower your child’s risk for cavities.
5. Set Reminders and Use Timers
A holiday oral care routine for kids is more challenging when everyone is off schedule. When the kids are out of school, sleeping in, or staying up later than normal, there’s a good chance that they’re also forgetting to brush their teeth. Or when they do, they rush right through it.
The ideal oral care routine for kids (and adults!) is to brush twice a day for a minimum of two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. If your family needs a little help, set an alarm on everyone’s phone and put a timer in the bathroom. Or have them brush to their favorite holiday song to make sure they’re cleaning their teeth long enough each day.
And most importantly, don’t forget to floss. Brushing doesn’t clean in-between!
6. Be Smart with Holiday Sweets
There’s a good chance that your family probably has holiday sweets and baked snacks sitting around the kitchen. One of the most important holiday dental tips for kids is to be smart about when you eat your sugary snacks. After all, what’s Christmas without the occasional mug of hot coco or candy cane?
The best time to indulge in holiday sweets is right after a meal. Restricting foods and sugars to one timeframe helps lessen the length of time that acids come into contact with your child’s teeth. Whereas allowing them to “graze” and snack on them all afternoon—even in small amounts—increases acid exposure. If your child prefers a mid-afternoon snack, have them eat it all at once and rinse their mouth out with water immediately afterward.
7. Don’t Forget Their Checkup
Our pediatric dentist in Vista has limited appointments available now through the end of the year. Today is a great time to go ahead and reserve your child’s next checkup before they head back to school. Most children need an exam and cleaning every six months because of how rapidly their smile develops. Plus, regular visits help us intercept tooth decay, which can spread quickly in children’s teeth.
For pediatric dental cleaning and exams in Vista, visit All Smiles Children’s Dentistry. Call now to schedule.