Holiday Sweets and Healthy Teeth

Holiday Sweets and Healthy Teeth

Holidays Bring Too Many Sweets

Kids love candy, and while we know it’s not good for them, we also know they’re going to eat it. “fun size” candy, candy canes, and chocolate Santas can be just a way of life this time of year. So how best to survive the holidays that are traditionally surrounded by sugar?

Understanding How Sweets Affect Teeth

The less time sugar spends in the mouth, the better it is for your teeth. In other words, if you have the choice between giving your child a lollipop, which will last for half an hour, and a chocolate kiss, which will dissolve in minutes, go with what will be gone the quickest. Also, small amounts of sugar eaten frequently are much more harmful than large amounts of sugar eaten in one sitting. Therefore,  if you must let your child indulge in holiday sweets, it’s better for them to go “whole hog” and get it over with than to nibble and make it last.
While hard candies are the worst offenders for decay and bacteria, there’s new research out there that suggests that chocolates may actually offset some of the harm. Recently touted to prevent heart disease and cancer, chocolate (and, specifically, cocoa butter it contains) can help stop the bacteria that cause decay by coating teeth with a protective film.

Tips for Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Healthy

  • Dairy products such as cheese and milk can help create a buffer from the acids produced by oral bacteria. Therefore, giving kids dairy when they eat candy can help protect teeth.
  • Have kids enjoy sweet treats after a meal when saliva production is greatest and can help protect teeth.
  • Encourage brushing and flossing as soon after a sugary treat is enjoyed and give a privilege or prize that is not food-related!
  • If they can’t brush right away, encourage them to rinse their mouth or have a glass of water after the treat. This can help remove some of the sugar before it does damage.
Lastly, think about some alternatives to holiday candy. Instead of filling up baskets and stockings with sugary sweets, consider stickers, small toys, crayons or high-bounce rubber balls. Kids love them, and you’ll love fewer unscheduled stops at the dentist’s office.
Holiday breaks are great times to schedule your child’s dental cleaning appointment! Click here to contact us at Adams and Cheek Dentistry or call 919.866.1360 to make your appointment now! These popular time slots fill up quickly!


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