Gingerbread HouseThe holiday season is a time for treats, sweets and overindulging as we spend time with friends and family. While parents want to make the holidays magical for their kids, there are some tips to follow to ensure that December’s celebration doesn’t turn into January’s dental problems. Here are some holiday tips to keep your child’s teeth healthy.

Go easy on candy canes and other hard candy

This time of year brings out fun holiday treats such as candy canes, ribbon candy and other hard candies that are hard to resist. While hard candy is tasty, it can crack your child’s teeth (or yours!) if bitten down wrong. A good tip is to let candies dissolve to prevent any chipping or other damage; tell your kids to make it last longer and not chomp down on those hard candies, and be sure they brush after eating candy of any kind.  However, also keep in mind that the longer they suck on a candy, the longer the sugar is staying in their mouths, and the more likely they are to develop a cavity.  It is best to eat it and be done with it – that is why hard candies are the worst for everyone’s teeth.

Watch the fruitcake

People either love or hate fruitcake, that delicious, sticky dessert that comes out around the holidays. Although it’s a cake, there are still ingredients that can cause dental issues for your kids. That dried fruit is a signature ingredient in fruitcake, but these foods get stuck in the grooves of the teeth, and for some reason, our kids do not notice it. Left there for a period of time, and you have the potential for cavities. If your kids are a fan of fruitcake, remind them to brush after enjoying this holiday treat.

Stick to a regular brushing routine

Remind your kids that Hermey the elf from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer always brushes his teeth two times a day, for two minutes, and they should too! It’s what keeps their mouth healthy all year long. Holidays make it easy to slip out of good, healthy habits, so remind your kids how important it is to keep those teeth clean.

Drink more water, less sugary beverages

With all those delicious treats around during the holidays, it’s hard not to snack on cookies, candies, fudge, etc. This is a good time of year to take a step back from sugary beverages, and have your kids drink more water. First, water washes out some of the cavity-causing bacteria left behind by sugary treats and second, they’ll already be consuming more than enough sugar, so avoid adding even more sugar in their beverages. It’s an easy way to cut back on your child’s sugar consumption.

Reach for crunchy veggies as part of snacking

The holidays bring together family and friends, as well as other holiday parties. Why not make sure there are plenty of crunchy, healthy vegetables to snack on in addition to just sugary treats?  Encourage your kids to munch on the healthy snacks, and just enjoy a few sweet treats. This can go a long way in preventing dental issues caused by snacking on the sweet stuff.

One last check-up before the year ends

As school lets out for the holiday season, why not book one last visit to your pediatric dentist to make sure your child’s teeth are healthy and strong? It’s a great way to remind your child that the health of their teeth is important!

Need more tips to keep your child’s teeth healthy during the holidays, and all year long?  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) created a great infographic filled with tips and reminders for parents on how to handle the holidays. Be sure to read their suggestions on how to handle starchy foods and what the best kinds of cheeses are for your kids to snack on.

The holiday season should be filled with joy. Be sure follow these holiday tips to keep your child’s teeth healthy well into the new year!