Remember the catchy Christmas jingle ‘All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth’? As your children dig into selection boxes and festive treats, perhaps there’s a message in this old song that we should be heeding.
Whilst you might be expecting Santa to visit this month, the tooth fairy could well stop by instead if parents continue to let their children develop bad habits. A recent study revealed that 41% of parents don’t make sure that their children brush their teeth twice a day.
At a time when we’re all guilty of letting the diet slip, it’s children who are tempted the most by selection boxes, chocolate coins and advent calendars. Of course, nobody wants to be a Christmas Grinch, but nevertheless you should be making sure their teeth are well protected from the onslaught of sugar.
As November and December roll by in a rush, you may find that your child’s oral health isn’t high on your agenda. In fact, fitting in a trip to the dentist at any time of the year is a big enough struggle for parents. Add Christmas gift shopping and family visits into the mixture and unfortunately you may think you haven’t any time left to take your little ones to the dentist.
Children will be children and you can’t always stop them from eating sweet treats. At such an exciting time of year, you don’t want to put a dampener on celebrations with a sweet ban. So how do you protect them?
- Ensure they brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day. This can be a tricky one to enforce but they’ll get it sooner or later. The good habits you instil now will follow them later in life too. Unfortunately two out of five parents we asked don’t do this. This could cause serious damage as plaque builds up along their teeth and gums.
- If they eat sweets, make sure it’s with a meal and never before bed as they’ll sleep with sugar on their teeth.
- Do try to limit their sugar intake where possible during the festive season. If you know they’re going to visit family who may treat them, avoid chocolate earlier on in the day.
- Why not down our ‘The Plaque Attack’ App on their new gadgets to educate them whilst keeping them entertained for hours.
Sharon Letters, clinical director at mydentist offers some advice: “Remember to brush with your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste, supervise your children and encourage them to spit the toothpaste out and not rinse. How about asking Santa to deliver a nice new toothbrush to help? It’s also an ideal time to schedule a check-up during the Christmas holidays. And, New Year is a time for resolutions – a great opportunity to make sure your child’s dental health is looked after in 2018.”
Christmas certainly is a time for goodwill and celebrations, and we don’t expect you to police your child’s fun. However, you should be ensuring that they are properly protected from the Christmas treats we all indulge in at this time of year. To learn more about your child’s dental hygiene visit our Kids club page for a detailed guide on dental health for all ages.
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