When it comes to the holidays, it can be hard to keep tiny fingers and mouths away from the deliciously sweet and delectable treats that are readily available. While you may set the rule of “no dessert until after dinner,” you may find your kids are sneaking a scoop of whip cream or one of grandma’s cookies when you’re not looking. To ensure you and your family enjoy a healthy Thanksgiving, here are four tips designed to help your child maintain cavity-free smiles throughout the holidays this year.
Incorporate Sugar-Free Dishes
Your kids may love sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top or a sugary soda at the dinner table, but if you want to cut back on unhealthy additives and minimize the risk for cavities, try incorporating some sugar-free options. If you want sweet potatoes, avoid adding marshmallows and instead, opt for a casserole. Choose water over soda or tea, and bake desserts that incorporate fresh fruit instead of refined and processed sugars.
Not only does snacking usually include unhealthy foods (i.e., chips, hard candies, etc.), but they all fill tummies before dinner time, making it more difficult for you to try and get your children to eat what is on the table. Not to mention, these snacks can scratch and damage soft oral tissues if you or your children are not careful. It’s best to keep snacks to a minimum around the holidays. If you want to set something out for others to enjoy, try a fruit or vegetable tray.
Swap Fruit Juice for Water
Although it was previously mentioned, the importance of drinking plenty of water cannot be emphasized enough. Making sure your child consumes water regularly is essential, especially throughout the holidays. Because of the endless array of sugary and starchy foods, this hydrating beverage can help to flush out bad bacteria and food particles that will try to adhere to the chewing surfaces of their teeth. It will also stimulate their saliva production, which can help to neutralize harmful acids that try to break down tooth enamel and cause cavities. While fruit juice is fine in moderation, water is always the best choice.
Set Designated Eating Times
The holidays might seem like a time when food is accessible and ready to eat any time of day; however, letting your kids have “second dinners” will only put them at greater risk for cavities and tooth decay. Keep their schedules regular by designating appropriate eating times and maintaining bedtime routines. Brushing and flossing should always occur before going to sleep, so even if they do stay up a bit later than usual, make sure they take proper care of their smile before turning in for the night.
The holidays don’t have to be full of oral hygiene pitfalls. Instead, take the steps to keep your kid’s teeth looking and feeling their best, so they can enter the new year with happier, healthier smiles.
About the Author
At Brush Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Mira Albert is a pediatric dentist who leads a team of experts who make it possible for little ones to enjoy visiting the dentist. Offering a fun and exciting environment filled with kid-friendly amenities, we believe in helping children become enthusiastic about oral hygiene while keeping parents informed of ways they can work to improve and help their children maintain healthier teeth and gums at home. If you are looking for tips or suggestions to ensure your child’s smile is better protected through the holidays, contact us at (630) 504-2223.