If you are like most Americans, your holiday season will likely be filled with good food and holiday treats. While it is tempting to eat up every delicious thing that you see, many adults and teens fall victim to gummy, chewy, sticky, and hard snacks that can be hard on their oral health. These treats can damage the teeth, and if you don’t have good dental hygiene, they can result in tooth decay and other long-lasting dental problems. Keep your teeth safe and healthy over the holidays so that you ring in the New Year with a beautiful smile.
How Can You Keep Your Teeth Healthy?
If you are going to be indulging in some holiday treats, there are several tips that you can follow to protect your teeth:
- Stick to soft candies, cookies, and snacks that will melt in your mouth, like peanut butter cups. These treats are much easier on dental work and braces, but since they are high in sugar and fat, it is important to consume them in moderation. Always brush and floss your teeth after you’ve indulged yourself with candy.
- Avoid taffy and other sticky treats, and stay away from caramels, nuts, and toffee that might break or damage your teeth. As delicious as these foods might be, they can cause chips, may compromise crowns, and can even pull out fillings.
- Don’t chew on ice while you’re enjoying your holiday cocktail, as this can damage braces and your tooth enamel.
- Use a teeth whitening toothpaste to remove any unsightly stains from your teeth, especially if you’ll be enjoying a lot of coffee, soda, or red wine during the holiday season.
How Can Parents Help Keep their Children’s Teeth Healthy?
As a parent, you likely remember the excitement of the holidays and understand that your child wants to commemorate the occasion by eating lots of sugary snacks. However, parents need to be vigilant about ensuring that children keep their teeth clean and healthy during the holidays. A junk food free-for-all is bad for their overall health in addition to the health of their teeth.
Encourage your child to brush and floss his teeth at least twice a day. This is especially true if he has braces, as metal braces have a tendency of trapping in food particles that can cause the teeth to decay and stain. If you have younger children, it may be beneficial to set up a teeth brushing schedule in order to ensure that he is getting his teeth cleaned properly. You can make the process fun by purchasing a holiday-themed toothbrush that features fun designs of his favorite cartoon character.
The important thing to remember about sweet treats and the holidays is moderation. If your child wants to eat a gingerbread man or a sugar cookie, not much harm can come from this decision. However, it is important to be proactive with his dental hygiene in order to ensure that there are no long-lasting implications for his dental health.