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Christmas cookies, fudge, and other sweet treats seem to magically appear everywhere you and your family go during the holiday season. It may seem like an impossible task to have a healthy holiday, but making small adjustments to your celebrations now will have you walking on a better, and healthier path into the new year.
Celebrating Responsibly to Stay Healthy & Happy
After dreaming of becoming a dentist for over 50 years, in 2014, Hermey the Elf was awarded the Dental Do Gooder award by the president of the American Dental Association (ADA). Promoting good dental health to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the rest of the gang from the island of misfit toys continues to inspire young children to have a passion for dentistry and to follow your dreams.
You too can encourage your children to help others feel good about themselves and to explore their passions in a healthy way with these family-friendly tips for good health all year long.
Keep Your Family Smiling Big & Feeling Great
- Brush your teeth together as a family (for two minutes, twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste) so your children can learn the proper way to brush from watching you
- Make sure your children are spitting out the toothpaste and not swallowing
- Use a smear or rice-sized amount of toothpaste for children younger than three years old
- Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for children three to six years old
- Introduce flossing to your children when the child has two teeth that touch, once a day
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water with fluoride is one of the easiest and most beneficial ways you can help prevent cavities. Imagine water cleaning your mouth with every sip. It washes away leftover foods, residue, and acids that are produced from sugars in your mouth that all work to create cavities.
Stay Active – with the Whole Family
Did you know that regular exercise can help lower the risk of contracting periodontitis, or gum disease? In fact, people who regularly exercise are less likely to contract gum disease by more than 50%.
Keep your family active with regular exercise whether it’s going for a nightly walk through the neighborhood or Saturday morning bike rides.
Eat Treats After Meals
If you have a sweet tooth, it may be hard to cut the ties with sugar completely. The best time to indulge in a sugary sweet is always after you’ve finished a meal. Pairing sweets with meals helps to ensure there’s enough saliva in the mouth to protect enamel from acids.
Chocolate Instead of Gummies
Can chocolate really be good for your teeth? The short answer is yes! Certain kinds of chocolate can prevent tooth decay, but it’s not the chocolate itself, it’s the cocoa bean with the benefits.
Cocoa beans contain three different types of strong antioxidants, each of which benefits your mouth and teeth.
- Tannins. Help to prevent cavities by inhibiting bacteria from sticking to your teeth. Tannins are what give dark chocolate it’s slightly bitter taste and they are responsible for the dark pigments of the chocolate.
- Polyphenols. By limiting the effects of bacteria, polyphenols work to neutralize the microorganisms that cause bad breath, and also prevent infections in your gums all to battle tooth decay.
- Flavonoids. Found in cocoa solids, flavanoids work to slow tooth decay among other health benefits. The percentage of flavonoids in a piece of chocolate depends on its color, with unsweetened baking chocolate containing the highest amount of milligrams, dark chocolate containing half that amount, and milk chocolate containing the least.
With benefits that melt in your mouth instead of sticking to your teeth, dark chocolate may be the most delicious, but still beneficial food on the planet.
Don’t Skip the Post-Holiday Dental Exams
Try scheduling exams as a family so that everyone can begin a new year together. Your kids will feel more comfortable in the dental office knowing you’re there with them, and you can get any needed information on your child’s oral health first hand from our team.
Ask us about any additional ways to avoid excessive sugar and unhealthy treats at your next dental exam!