The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that worldwide, between 60% and 90% of school children have one or more cavities. Some cavities are caused by genetic factors but many are caused by sugar. High levels of sugar are included in countless everyday products and it’s a challenge to avoid them. Of course, the urge for children to indulge their sweet tooth only continues to grow during the holidays. With all sorts of cookies, cakes, pies, and other sweet treats available, some simple oral health tips can help keep your children healthy.
Luckily, we have some expert insight to share to help you keep oral health a priority in your family, even during the sugar-filled holidays. Here are just a few tricks to keep in mind for your children through the holidays.
Don’t Use Teeth As Tools
This should be a no-brainer, but it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement that comes with opening a new toy or other gift wrapped in thick, tight plastic. But make sure your kids remain patient and wait until a safer and more suitable tool is available. It often helps to keep a pair of scissors nearby and be available to assist with opening packages.
The same goes for nuts, which seem to be the perfect holiday snack. Don’t let your children crack open nuts using their teeth; instead, invest in a holiday nutcracker to make the process fun.
Limit Sweet Holiday Treats
It’s unrealistic to expect your children to avoid eating sweets altogether. Instead, consider setting limits for certain foods and candy. For example, dentists say that candy canes, cookies, caramels, fruitcakes, and holiday drinks such as eggnog and hot apple cider are some of the worst and sugar-laden treats for children to eat in excess. Try to limit sugar intake to one serving after a healthy meal. And, as always, don’t forget to make sure they brush thoroughly afterward!
Make A Dentist Appointment For The New Year
Finally, you should be proactive and start preparing your children for a healthy 2018. Make an appointment for a cleaning with your children’s dentist. For youngsters in their teenage years, you may want to ask about their wisdom teeth: are they coming in, and if so, will they require wisdom tooth removal? A dentist or oral surgeon will be able to give you the information you need.
These oral health tips are helpful all year-round
With so much sugar during the holiday season, practicing good oral health is especially important. The American Dental Hygienist’s Association (ADHA) reports that an estimated 78% of U.S. adults have had at least one cavity by age 17. Knowing how to prioritize your children’s oral health and dental care routine during the holidays is the key to avoiding cavities and building good habits that’ll last a lifetime.