Protecting Your Child’s Teeth from Popular Holiday Foods
December 30, 2020
During the holidays, your family probably consumes more sugary and starchy delicacies than usual. These treats just come with the package, and your children most likely look forward to these goodies during the holiday season. You might be wondering which traditional holiday foods are not good for kids and their oral health. Your Birmingham pediatric dentist shares a list of traditional menu items to be mindful of this year.
Holiday Foods That Might Hurt Your Child’s Teeth
It only makes sense to allow your children to indulge a bit during the holidays. Afterall, they do only come once a year. However, while your family is enjoying some of your favorite traditional foods this season, here are a few that you may consider limiting when it comes to your child’s diet:
A cup of hot cocoa by the fireside is a perfect way to end a chilly winter day, and if your child is like most others, they probably like to add a few marshmallows to the mix. While your family is enjoying this tasty beverage, have some water nearby so that your child can rinse off their teeth in between cups of sugary, chocolatey goodness.
Sweet Baked Goods
Decorating cookies and baking pies are another fun family tradition that your children probably look forward to each holiday season. It’s important to make sure your child is drinking plenty of water while they enjoy these treats to make sure they’re rinsing the sugar out of their mouth to avoid cavities.
Stuffing, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese…these are all delicious sides that most families have one or more of at the table during a holiday meal. You may think they pose less of a risk to your child’s teeth, but think again! The starch in these foods is sticky and easily gets stuck to teeth. If it is not rinsed off, it can cause severe plaque build-up. Over time, this plaque becomes tartar, which can eventually lead to cavities or gum disease if not addressed. Instead of another helping of mac n’ cheese, offer your child another slice of ham or turkey to help fill them up with protein.
If your child doesn’t have a candy cane at some point, is it even the holidays? Candy is probably one of the things your child loves most about the holidays, but while they’re enjoying tasty sweets, it may be a good idea to limit their intake. If eaten in excess, the sugar from candy can stick to their teeth and increase their risk of tooth decay. Instead, try offering your child some nuts or other less sugary options to snack on.
This one may be surprising since fruit is considered a healthier option when it comes to snacking, and it is often found in delicious holiday snack mixes. However, the sticky nature of the fruit can easily get stuck to the surfaces and sides of your child’s teeth. Unfortunately, it likely has added sugar which can cause cavities if not removed. Make sure to encourage your child to brush their teeth or rinse their mouth out with water if they choose this as a snack.
The good news is, you don’t have to be “the bad guy” this holiday season by robbing your child of their favorite treats. Just be sure to monitor their intake and encourage them to drink plenty of water so that they can start the new year with a healthy smile!
About the Practice
Dr. Angelica R. Rohner leads the team of pediatric dental experts at her private practice in Birmingham. She is passionate about helping children learn how to take good care of their teeth at a young age in order to have healthy smiles throughout their entire lives. Years of experience providing dental care for children and continuing education give her the ability to provide superior care. Are your child’s teeth in good shape? Schedule an appointment online or call (205) 870-0892.
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