When the holiday season comes around, there seems to be no shortage of candy and dessert around the house. Although it may be overwhelming and impossible to avoid all of these treats, there are plenty of safe and tasty snacks to satisfy young taste buds without interfering with your oral health. In fact, when preparing fun holiday treats with your child, you can include numerous healthy options that build strong teeth at the same time. Dr. Jaleel, your dentist in Ottawa is here to provide you with some tips and advice.
Treats to Avoid
When supermarket shelves are full of brightly packaged treats for the holidays, it’s hard not to fill your cart. But for the sake of your child’s braces, you still need to scoot past the hard, chewy and sticky foods. Children with braces should avoid caramel, licorice, lollipops, bubblegum, popcorn, taffy, jelly beans and hard pretzels. How come? Biting hard foods can bend or even break your child’s metal brackets.
Stick to Your Favorites
It’s hard to get away from sweet treats during the month of December. There’s the candy dish at the office, Aunt Mary’s triple-chocolate brownies, sugary hot beverages, tray upon tray of homemade cookies and even people handing out candy canes while you’re out running errands. Be picky when offered a goodie. Skip the items that are available throughout the year, such as store-bought cookies and M&Ms, and go for more special yummies guilt-free. Your teeth — and waistline — will thank you.
Clean your teeth after every sugary treat; perhaps consider a new toothbrush. This will help keep your mouth cleaner by reducing plaque buildup. Make it a household rule that candy, cookies, hot cocoa and other delicious foods are allowed only on condition that teeth be brushed immediately after the treats are eaten. Then make sure that everyone sticks to the rule, including Mom and Dad! This one step will go a long way toward teaching the whole family how to prevent cavities while keeping the season sweet.
Carry Oral Hygiene Tools with You
Lots of sweets are eaten outside of the home while shopping, visiting or attending parties. Pick up extra toothbrushes and small tubes of toothpaste for everyone in the family to carry with them. Trial sizes of mouthwash and dental floss complete the portable dental care package.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing gum produces saliva. This helps to wash away bacteria. It’s also easier to resist treats when you have a piece of gum in your mouth. There is a wide range of sugar-free flavors on the market, including mint chocolate chip, cinnamon roll and apple pie à la mode.
Make Less Sticky Choices
Problems occur when the sugary coating remains on the teeth. Plaque loves the acids in sugar and other carbs. Choosing goodies that don’t leave a sticky coating, especially when you are not able to brush right away, reduces the risk of tooth damage. Enjoy a fresh fruit salad instead of a muffin for breakfast or pound cake instead of chocolate fudge for dessert.More