While the holidays can be a time for reconnecting with loved ones, they can also be stressful, time-consuming, expensive, and even unhealthy. While trying to get everything just right, trying not to forget anyone or anything on your lists, and, most important of all, having a good time, you may forget a thing or two about how to have a healthy celebration, especially in regards to your and your children’s teeth.
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to protect your family’s oral and dental health this Thanksgiving. By establishing good dental health habits now, as they grow up, it will be easier for them to hold to their healthy teeth, and by association, their smiles.
WAYS TO KEEP THE THANKSGIVING FEAST HEALTHY
- Include sweet treats that also have health benefits, including a rich variety of fruits.
- While you can enjoy a few sugary baked treats, limit such to reasonable types and numbers.
- Encourage everyone, especially the kids, to brush their teeth at some point during the day, preferably 30 minutes or more after eating.
- Insist that desserts come after meals and don’t feel obligated to allow just sweet things for “treats” between meals.
- Don’t put off dental exams or treatments needed shortly before or after the holidays. Dental care needs don’t take a holiday for the months of November and December just because we do.
- Encourage the family, especially the kids, to floss after every meal, if possible. Flossing doesn’t put as much stress on the teeth as brushing can. It’s an easy way to keep everyone’s teeth clean, especially during the holidays.
- Encourage the family not to abuse their teeth by eating things that often damage them, including nuts, popcorn kernels, ice, bones, etc.
- Be very choosy as to what beverages you serve the kids. Soda, for example, is acidic enough to seriously damage enamel and can, in the long run, weaken teeth by leaching calcium from them.
- Never let the kids use their teeth as household “tools”—i.e., using them to pull off plastic strips from containers, open up a box of stuffing, take staples out of a Thanksgiving decoration, etc.
- Find a pediatric dentist for your children so they can improve their chances of having healthy dental holidays for years to come; regular dentists may treat children but, for the kids’ sake, find a dentist that specializes in the special needs of children.
Thanksgiving is an excellent time to think about dental habits and overall strategies on how to hold on to or obtain a healthy mouth and teeth. We, of course, are here to help you set appropriate goals that will help your kid’s teeth stay strong for years to come!
Here are just some of the advantages of using a pediatric dentist:
- Pediatric dentists have additional training in kids’ dentistry which usually requires special state certification.
- Pediatric dentists help kids develop good dental habits early on in life, kids typically feel more comfortable at a dental office full of kids their own age.
- Pediatric dentists help kids develop responsibility by helping them make a connection between too many sweets and having to get sometimes inconvenient dental care.
- The decor of a pediatric dentist’s office is more likely to be in line with what kids expect or are comfortable seeing–i.e., cartoon characters on the walls, toys, colorful furniture, etc.
Schedule an appointment to visit our kid-friendly office at Children’s Dentistry of San Diego today!