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Winter holiday festivities are in full swing, with sweet treats and candy in abundance. So, let’s figure out how to prepare our children to combat the onslaught of sweets this post-holiday season.
Bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugar. As it digests the sugar, it leaves behind acid. These acids eat away at tooth enamel, causing decay. When teeth are exposed to sugars for long periods of time, the risk of decay increases. Candy and cookies are obvious culprits loaded with sugar, but bread plays a role, too. Think of the candy that sticks to teeth, like caramel and taffy. Lollipops and hard candy provide continuous exposure to sugar through the lifetime of the lollipop. Steer clear of sweets as much as possible, but on those days you enjoy the sugar cookies, do so early in the day or evening. Avoid eating sugary foods before bed.
Let’s be real. We know the whole family is likely to eat more sweets and drink more hot cocoa and salted caramel lattes. Being realistic about the increased exposure is important to the whole family. During the holidays, it is wise to go a step above the twice a day brushing recommended by the Canadian Dental Association. Taking a couple of minutes to brush after eating sweets rids the mouth of decay-causing bacteria. At the very least, have kids rinse mouth with water, swishing vigorously. Between the saliva and the water rinses, a fair amount of the bacteria is removed.
Sweet foods and candies are not the only sugar bearers we’ll confront over the holidays. As we stand around filling our cups and enjoying homemade punch, sodas, and juices, we expose all of the surfaces of our teeth and gums to sugar. One way to counteract the sweet or acidic drinks this season is to be sure your family drinks water frequently to rinse the mouth. Increasing saliva production can help prevent decay. Sugarless gum sweetened with xylitol helps remove sugars and even has beneficial minerals that work to repair enamel over time.
New, shiny toothbrushes are a great way to excite kids about brushing. Take turns choosing favorite songs for the family to brush to each night. Look for fun, new toothpastes or flavors to try. A Twelve Days of Christmas style toothpaste taste test would be fun and it would put the spotlight on dental hygiene.
The CDA recommends children of all ages brush at least twice a day. Floss and rinse with a CDA approved mouthwash at least once a day. Replace sweet foods with fruits and veggies to minimize sugar exposure. Talk to the Team at Floss Dental about adding fluoride treatment if your water is not fluoridated.
Floss Dental treats patients of all ages like family. Give us a call today at 778-565-3368 or request an appointment online. Using the extra time over the holiday breaks is a great time to schedule a check-up and cleaning.