Taking Care of Your Teeth During the Holidays
It’s the season of giving! It’s also the season of cookies, candy, hot chocolate, peppermint sticks, flavored popcorn, cake, frosting and candied nuts. In short, the holidays are a veritable tidal wave of sugar. That means your little surfers teeth are under assault from all the delicious treats and sweets during the holidays.
During this season of culinary delights, it’s more important than ever to remind and help your kiddos keep their teeth clean and healthy. Here are a few reminders on oral care to get you through to the New Year! (You know, when we all go on diets and swear off all the sugar we ate this month.)
Brush & Floss More Often
This time of year is very busy, and it can be easy to forget our daily habits for taking care of ourselves. But with all the sugar-laden treats being eaten, brushing and flossing after every meal (or after that big plate of cookies) is a good thing. Most kids will be used to brushing in the morning and before bed. Adding another session of brushing during the day will be hard to remember, but it’s important. It will also help them build new habits for brushing more often.
Sugar left to sit on teeth becomes acidic and can lead to cavities. Encouraging your kids to brush after a big meal (especially if there were sweet treats) will eliminate the sugar from their teeth and keep cavities at bay. It will also help dislodge any sticky food particles that may have become stuck in their teeth (we’re looking at you, caramel popcorn).
Remind Your Kids How to Brush Properly
About two minutes is the time needed to do a thorough job with brushing your teeth. This can seem like an eternity to kids who just want to get the task done. Sing a song or invest in a toothbrush that plays music to help them brush the full two minutes. There are countless character-inspired toothbrushes on the market. Letting your little surfer choose one that they love can help keep them interested in brushing.
Brushing properly includes:
- Brushing every tooth including the easy-to-reach ones in the front and the molars in the back.
- Brush all surfaces of the tooth, not just the tops.
- Don’t forget to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste that is approved by the ADA.
Flossing is a vital part of keeping your kids teeth healthy. Flossing should become part of the daily routine as soon as their teeth begin to touch. It’s especially helpful for removing those large particles of food that get stuck in between the teeth and aren’t removed with brushing.
Flossing properly includes:
- Inserting the floss between two teeth and using a back and forth motion.
- Curve the floss around each tooth. Make a ‘C’ shape and go up and down each tooth.
- If standard floss is too difficult for your child to use (and they won’t let you help them), consider “fun flossers” which are made especially for kids. They are designed for little surfers hands and come in fun colors and flavors to make flossing more fun.
Drink Lots of Water
There is never a bad time to remind ourselves of the importance of water. For our mouths, water helps wash away sugar and food particles. Your kids might be enjoying lots of hot cocoa this holiday season (which is delicious, don’t get us wrong!), but they need to counter any sugary beverages with a glass of water. It will help with the health of their teeth and mouths, as well as being crucial to their overall health and well-being.
Watch Out What They Bite Into!
Peppermint sticks, nuts and popcorn abound during the holiday season. But one wrong bite can crack a tooth and cause immense pain. If your little ones are eating any kind of a “hard treat” like this, they need to be mindful of not chomping down on them. Let the nutcrackers do their job. It’s really the only time of the year they have to work after all.
Don’t forget to take care of your teeth during the holiday season by spending a little extra time caring for them. Your mouth and your teeth will thank you for the effort!
The Smile Surfers teams in Richland and Sumner wish all our patients, families, community partners and friends a very merry holiday season. Book your little surfers for their new year’s appointment today and start off their oral health on the right foot.