Winter holidays tend to afford opportunities for children of all ages to indulge on sweets and candy more than usual. Let’s talk about how we can prepare our children to focus on oral health during the holidays.
How Does Sugar Affect Dental Health?
Sugar is the primary food source for the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth. As the bacteria digest the sugar, their byproduct is the acid that eats away at tooth enamel, causing cavities. Whether the sugar comes from candy, cookies, or even breads, the longer teeth are exposed to sugar, the higher the risk for decay. Hard candies and lollipops, along with sticky caramels and taffies do tend to expose teeth for longer periods of time, so limit their consumption, especially before bed.
Ramp Up the Oral Hygiene Routine
Since you know exposure to sugars is likely, it is important to alter your kids’ dental hygiene routines. The CDA normally recommends brushing and rinsing twice a day and flossing at least once. During the holiday season, brushing after sweets can help eliminate the extra food source of the bacteria. If brushing is not possible, at least have kids rinse their mouth vigorously with water. This will help get rid of some of the sugary food particles and acids that saliva has not yet washed away.
Pay Attention to Time Spent Consuming Sugar
Because sweets like hard candy are sucked on for an extended period of time, they are particularly damaging. But, it’s not just sweets to watch out for during the holidays. Soda, juice, and fruity punch wash over and through teeth and gums without much thought to their impact on oral health. It’s a good idea to have kids rinse with water after any type of sweet, including drinks. Sugarless gum with xylitol is a great way to boost saliva production and help remove left behind sugars, all while keeping the mouth busy.
Turn Toothbrushing Into a Fun Family Affair
Knowing how hectic things can get around the holidays, take a little bit of time each night and morning to make toothbrushing fun. Grab new toothbrushes in fun colors or designs to spark interest. Try a new flavored toothpaste to mix it up. They even make colored dental floss to help encourage participation. Choose your favorite holiday song to play during brushing to ensure everyone spends the whole 2 minutes brushing.
Steps to follow to help your children protect their teeth and gums:
- Brush twice a day with a CDA approved toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day.
- Eat healthy foods and snacks when possible to limit sugars and starches from building up on teeth.
- If your child’s regular drinking water is not fluoridated, ask your dentist about options.
- Schedule regular check-ups and cleanings with Clayburn Dental, even during the holiday rush.
Book Your Appointment in Abbotsford, BC
Using the holiday breaks to schedule your children’s appointments is a solid idea. Clayburn Dental has proven themselves to be a dental clinic that loves kids. Give us a call today at (604) 852-8487 or request an appointment online for a cleaning and checkup.