ORANGE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--During the holiday season, children develop an even bigger craving for sweets.
And what parent wants to play Scrooge and adopt that bah humbug attitude and say “no” every time their child reaches for another sugary cookie?
Sure, sugar is the enemy when it comes to tooth decay. It’s among the key contributors in the production of plaque acids that attack the tooth enamel. Eat enough sweets and the acids eventually win, ultimately causing the enamel to break down, forming a dreaded cavity.
So, how do parents tight-rope the fine line between allowing children to eat holiday treats, yet also try to limit the damage?
“We’re not suggesting that kids should totally avoid eating sweets over the holidays, but try to focus on quality and not quantity,” said Dr. John Luther, Chief Dental Officer for Western Dental. “Set daily limits with your children and stick to them. This will help children avoid gum disease and tooth decay.”
Below are tips that Western Dental believes parents will find helpful during the holiday season.
- Limit the sugar intake: Food that has sugar of any kind contributes to tooth decay. The bad news – practically all foods, including vegetables and milk, contain some type of sugar. To help control sugar intake, parents should read food labels and pick food and drinks that are low in added sugars.
- What are some healthy ingredients? Nuts, fruits, cranberries, molasses and dark chocolate possess less impact on a child’s teeth. Any holiday dessert made with whole wheat flour is a healthier alternative.
- Healthy snacks: When snacking, include nutritious foods like fruit, plain yogurt, cheese, unbuttered popcorn, and raw vegetables. It’s OK to mix in occasional sugary items like cookies, but make them a treat rather than a staple.
- What to avoid: Sugar cookies are an obvious one – they contain tons of sugar! Candy canes look good as a tree decoration, but are very bad for one’s teeth, and are 100-percent sugar. Chewy candy sticks to the teeth and gives bacteria plenty of time to consume the sugar. Hard candies can also be very damaging to teeth.
- Maintain good habits: Kids (and adults) get caught up in the holiday spirit and fun, so it’s easy to forget the daily rituals. The key to maintaining proper oral health over the holidays means regular brushing and flossing.
ABOUT WESTERN DENTAL
Western Dental (with its affiliates, including Brident Dental & Orthodontics) is one of the nation’s largest dental providers and is the leader in accessible, affordable oral healthcare, serving approximately 2.4 million patient visits annually in 249 affiliated offices throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. In addition to general dentistry, it offers orthodontics, oral surgery, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and endodontics, creating a convenient full service “Dental Home.”
In California, Western Dental is the leading provider of services to both adults and children in the Denti-Cal program – part of the Medi-Cal public insurance program that provides health care benefits for more than 13 million low-income individuals and families. Western Dental dentists provided care to more than a half-million Denti-Cal beneficiaries in 2017 and is committed to continuing to partner with the State to improve the program.
All of Western Dental’s services are backed by a unique quality assurance system that electronically monitors all patient visits, treatments, dental staff and clinical performance to enable high-quality care. To learn more about Western Dental or inquire about an office in your community, visit www.westerndental.com or call 1-800-6-DENTAL.