The Do’s And Don’ts Of Holiday Mouth Health: Foods To Avoid, Pediatric Dentist Office Visits, And More

What do parents need to know about the holidays and their children's dental health? From the foods to eat (and what to avoid) to visiting the pediatric dentist for a check-up, take a look at the do's and don'ts of oral care during the holiday season. 

Do Avoid Sticky and Slow-To-Dissolve Sugary Foods

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), sticky and slow-to-dissolve foods can affect the progression of dental decay (cavity formation). The more sugary-packed sticky holiday treats your child eats, the more at risk they are for decay. 

The sugar in holiday cookies, candies, and other goodies may taste good. But it also feeds the bacteria in your child's mouth. This bacteria may then create sticky byproducts known as plaque. Over time this creates an acidic environment that causes enamel erosion and dental caries. 

Sticky and slow-to-dissolve sugary holiday treats stay in the mouth longer than other foods. This gives the sugar in your child's red and green jelly beans or Santa-shaped gummies more time to feed the oral bacteria. Even though processed sweetened candies are a culprit in cavity formation, some natural foods can contribute to this issue too. Raisins and other dried fruits (alone or in cookies) are high in sugar and often stick to the teeth. 

Don't Forget About At-Home Care

As much as you try to keep your child away from sticky holiday treats, they always somehow manage to bring home a bag of candy or other sweets from school, a friend's house, or a family party. Even though it's best to completely avoid these foods, adequate at-home care can help to reduce the risks of sticky sugars. 

Younger children may need extra help when brushing or flossing. Set a timer for two minutes or pick a two-minute-long holiday song to play as your child brushes. This can make brushing more fun and help your child to maintain a healthy mouth.

Keep a toothbrush and a fluoride-containing paste with you when you travel for the holidays or when you go to festive family gatherings. After your child eats or drinks, help them to brush sticky foods and other debris away. 

Do Make A Pediatric Dentistry Office Visit Appointment

The winter holidays are a busy time for many families. Between work, school, shopping for presents, family gatherings, holiday parties, and everything else you need to do, it may not seem like you have time for your child's mid-year check-up. 

At-home dental care and choosing foods wisely can reduce the risks of decay. But regular brushing and good food choices aren't substitutes for a professional exam and cleaning. If your child is due for their dentist's office checkup, make time for a holiday season appointment. 

Contact a pediatric dentist to learn more.