Sweets for Kids at the Holidays? What Dentist Approved That?

Last updated on December 31st, 2018 at 02:06 pm

Now that the holiday season is in full force, you’ve probably noticed an increased availability of sweets everywhere you turn. Your child’s teacher asks for everyone to bring a candy to exchange, the dance recital serves punch and cookies afterward, and don’t forget the homemade fudge at Grandma’s house.

Is it possible to prevent dental problems for your little one during the Christmas season? Yes. The key is “everything in moderation,” along with some important advice from your child’s dentist!

Limit the Candy Canes

Sucking on a hard candy cane for a half hour or more means constant sugar exposure on your child’s teeth. Of course, you don’t want to be the one to throw them out completely. For a happy compromise, limit them to no more than a few candy canes per week (just during the holiday season, of course) or purchase the smaller ones instead. 

Soft Sweets are Better on the Teeth

If you’re at a holiday party and your little one wants to indulge, steer them toward the cookies, as opposed to the baklava or brittle. A softer, less-sticky food won’t “hang out” in the deep grooves of the back teeth for hours on end.

Stuff Their Stocking with Xylitol

Gums and candies with Xylitol as the primary sweetener can actually limit plaque and acid levels inside of your child’s mouth, reducing their risk of tooth decay. If you’re out and about without access to a toothbrush — and you know your child has just enjoyed a plethora of holiday goodies — keep Xylitol gum on hand to at least counter-act some of the sugary acids that their teeth have just been exposed to.

Drink Lots of Water

Encourage your child to have a refillable bottle of tap water in their backpack or as they snack throughout the weekend. Tap water contains regulated fluoride levels and the pure H2O rinses away acids after meals.

Up Your Child’s Fluoride…at Least Temporarily

Now is a good time to pick up a bottle of fluoridated mouthwash for your child to use before bedtime each night. An over the counter rinse is fine. Brush and floss first, have her rinse, then don’t eat or drink anything else before bed. Fluoride remineralizes weak areas that may be compromised from sugary sweets during the daytime.

If your child hasn’t seen a dentist in the last six months, now is a great opportunity (especially before your end of the year dental benefits expire). Regular checkups promote healthy smiles and eliminate the risk of toothaches during the holidays!

About the Author

I am a family dentist who treats children as well as adults. Making smiles people love, extreme makeovers and complex dental reconstruction is our niche including implants, TMJ, orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. As a participant in the blog, I will be offering dental perspectives on pediatric safety and health care options on a regular basis. I can be reached at www.suwaneedental.com. Blessings to all! Dr Williams is a member of the PedSafe Expert team

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