Dental Health Tips for the Springtime Holidays
Carla Ann Tornatore, D.D.S., Director of Pediatric Dentistry
Spring has sprung and holiday treats are everywhere. Chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, marshmallow chicks and coconut macaroons fill the grocery store shelves. These sweet treats can weaken our teeth and lead to cavities. The best way to avoid unwanted cavities is to practice good oral hygiene, visit the dentist regularly and limit sugary treats.
Here are some healthy swaps that even the tooth fairy would approve!
1) Avoid the sweet and sticky. Pass on jelly beans, gummies and caramels. The stickier the treat the longer time it is in contact with the tooth surface, which can damage enamel and cause decay. Chocolate is a healthier choice, as it melts in our mouth. Dark chocolate even has nutrients that help protect your heart.
2) Look for fun treats that aren't candy. Replace the sweets with fun toys like stickers, puzzles, playdoh, and bubbles. It is a good way to guarantee there won’t be too much sugar around.
3) Make sure to always serve plenty of heathy food before snack time. Snack alternatives, such as fresh fruit, veggies and cheese, should be offered to replace sugary treats.
4) Water, Water, Water. Water is the best beverage to drink in between meals as well as after a snack. Soda and even fruit juices contain a lot of sugar. Rinsing or swishing with water will wash away food particles throughout the day. Inspire your children to drink more water by purchasing water bottles with their name or favorite character.
5) The best way to combat the effect of moderate holiday candy consumption on teeth is brushing and flossing. It's recommended to brush two times a day for two minutes as well as flossing at least once. During times of the year when there might be more sweet treats in the house, add an extra brushing after snacking.
Lastly, how about some spring cleaning for your smile as well? Spring time is a perfect season to refresh your tooth gear. Replace worn out toothbrushes, restock your dental floss and check the expiration date on your mouthwash. Consider an extra treat for your teeth and upgrade to a power toothbrush or a water flosser. And don't forget to schedule a checkup at your dentist to keep your mouth healthy and your smile springtime bright all year long!