There’s so much to love about December. The leaves have fallen and the hot Florida summer has left us for a while. You’ll probably stock up on hot chocolate and prepare to bake anything and everything – it’s just that time of year.
The holiday season brings with it a ton of great food, but that food isn’t always the best for your oral health. That’s why, if you want to have the happiest holidays possible, you’ll also focus on making sure your teeth are happy during this season as well.
You don’t have to go too wild here! You don’t have to tell your kids to brush their teeth after every meal. Just be more vigilant in making sure they brush at least twice a day, and possibly more if meals include ice cream, soda or hot chocolate.
Make Healthier Snacks
You won’t have to limit snacks and baked goods as much with simple modifications. Substituting most baked goods with whole wheat is a quite simple. This doesn’t change flavor as much as you would think, especially in chocolate baked goods! In addition, consider the following:
- Look for ways to include fruit in your snacks and treats.
- Flavor your own popcorn. Cut back on the butter and use canola oil as a substitute.
- Be a good role model and don’t eat anything you wouldn’t feed your kids.
- Involve your kids when grocery shopping.
- Cook at home more than going out for fast food.
- Find more healthy and easy holiday recipes.
Drink Lots of Water
Water is essential to your overall health, but it also provides important protections to your teeth. Water washes away the remaining food and fluoride helps fight cavities. Especially after eating lots of sugar or consuming soda, make sure your kids (and you, for that matter) drink a glass of water.
Stock Up on the “Good” Kind of Holiday Candy
There are a few types of candy that are better for the teeth than others including:
- Dark chocolate (70-85%)
- Sugarless candy and gum
- Candy with nuts
Any form of candy in excess is bad so you can let your children splurge now and then, but encourage them to brush their teeth after eating holiday sweets.
Schedule a Dental Exam and Cleaning
With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas, Hanukkah and other religious holidays quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to schedule a dental exam and cleaning for your child. Dr. Guerra recommends six-month cleanings to maintain good oral health. It’s also important for adults to have bi-annual cleanings.