How to Protect Your Child’s Teeth During the Holidays (And The Rest of The Year Too)

toddler brushing her teeth excitedly

ALPHARETTA, GA – The upcoming holiday season presents numerous opportunities for treats and snacks. Children love this and often try their best to take advantage of every opportunity given to them, whether it is a class party, the candy dish at holiday gatherings, or the temptation of a large bag of candy they “earned” while trick-or-treating.

Due to all of the extra snacking opportunities at this time of year, it is even more important for parents to be aware of how a child’s diet can affect their teeth. According to Dr. Nanna Ariaban, an Alpharetta dentist for children, “Limiting the sugar in a child’s diet is one of the most important things that you can do as a parent. Beyond that, encouraging them to choose water over juice or soda will benefit them for the rest of their life.”

Here are three diet tips for every parent to follow during the holidays, as well as the rest of the year.

1 – Limit snacking. When your child is snacking all day long, they are providing a constant food source to the bacteria that like to destroy the enamel meant to protect teeth. This bacteria can cause cavities, which can be painful and inconvenient. When they take a break from snacking, they give the saliva in their mouth a chance to wash away any remaining food particles. Instead of letting them suck on candy canes or munch on sugar cookies, only allow them to have sweet desserts after dinner, so they can brush away any sugar right after.

2 – Make informed choices. Certain foods are better than others. Obviously, candy, whether it is hard or chewy, is going to have a negative effect on teeth. Less obvious though is the danger that “healthy” foods like granola bars and dried fruit might have on oral health. The sticky nature of these snacks means they are more likely to hang around in between teeth or in the nooks and crannies of molars. You can offer a cheese platter with aged cheeses, which increase saliva production, alongside produce with a high water content such as watermelon, pears or cucumbers.

3 – Drink water. Skip the hot cocoa and opt for water this year. No one can disregard how valuable water is to a healthy body. This health benefit extends to the mouth as well. When it is not possible to brush teeth, water can help minimize the impact of sticky or sugary snacks. A glass of water can rinse off the teeth, minimizing the potential for damage. No one expects you to never give your children crackers or candy, but when you do, serving them with a glass of water is a good choice.

By monitoring your child’s diet, you can help prevent them from ever needing one or more children’s dental crowns. It is also possible to use dental fluoride to help protect your children’s teeth if you are concerned that dietary changes alone will not be enough. Along with these tips, our Pediatric Dentist in Roswell emphasizes the importance of practicing a thorough dental hygiene regimen daily. Brushing and flossing properly may seem trivial, but they will help your child maintain strong, healthy teeth for the long run. As an Alpharetta children dentist, Dr. Nanna is available to consult with on whether or not this is the right choice for your family.

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