As the holiday season rolls around, the normal routines and patterns of school life come to an end. It’s so important during this time to keep on top of your child’s dental health. It’s a time to relax and enjoy, but knowing how to keep teeth safe and healthy in the season of sweet treats is also a great gift!
From making sure they’re brushing regularly and effectively to finally finding the time to make an appointment with your dentist, here are some top tips for looking after your child’s teeth during the festive period.
Keep a Good Routine Going
During the school season, waking up and going to bed follows roughly the same pattern day-to-day. It’s easier to slot morning and evening brushing into the same routine. However, the holidays can askew a normal schedule.
A top tip for the holiday season is to try to keep regular brushing at roughly the same times of day as during the school term. Not too long after breakfast is generally a good time for the first brush, while last thing at night is the most important of all – this will stop bits of food from building up during sleep.
Building this routine outside of the school term is will help your child develop good dental care habits in the long run, as they become more independent.
Practice Makes Perfect
The holidays are a great time to gift a toothbrush in your child’s stocking, and show them how to brush with precision.
An expert tip is that you should always supervise your child’s brushing up to the age of seven. However, you should also monitor their brushing after that age just to make sure they’ve learned the important steps of the routine.
You’ll feel more confident knowing that:
- They understand the right amount of toothpaste to use
- They’re covering their whole mouth
- They’re brushing for around two minutes consistently
There’s always plenty of delicious food on offer during the holiday season, as well as a huge range of sweet and sugary treats. While this is one of the reasons that children love this time of year so much, too many sugary snacks and fizzy drinks can cause lasting damage to your child’s teeth.
It’s a good idea to ensure that if they’re eating lots of sweet foods, that they have an extra brush in the daytime, such as after lunch. This will stop the sugar from sitting for too long on the teeth.
If you’re concerned about your child eating snacks that are especially sticky or chewy, flossing is an option for slightly older children; your dentist will be able to advise you about whether flossing is appropriate for your child.
Otherwise, limiting the number of mealtimes that fizzy drinks are on the table is also good practice; if your child had fizzy pop at lunchtime, perhaps make it milk or water at dinner.
Out and About
The holiday season can be a great time for playdates and sleepovers, which can also make it a great time for a quiet night in with a glass of wine and a good film!
If your child is spending the night at a friend’s house, there are a few easy things you can do to make sure they’re still taking care of their dental health:
- Firstly, a gentle reminder to clean their teeth before they go to bed is the obvious one; this puts the decision into their hands and shows that you trust them.
- Making sure that they take their toothbrush is also really important; you can include this with toothpaste and other bathroom products as part of a washkit if they’re going to have a bath or shower while they’re out.
- Finally, as a last check, it’s good to ensure you have a word with the responsible adult or babysitter. Ask them to make sure that your child cleans their teeth before bed, and report back if they refuse.
Time for a Check-Up
It can be hard to find time for a dental check-up during the school term. So while your child is away from school, it makes sense to take a day off, visit your dentist, and check that everything is in order. Taking your child to have their teeth examined at least twice a year is a must. Because most people make appointments in the summer months, booking an checkup during the holiday season makes sense.
Arranging the visit well in advance is also highly recommended, as other parents will have exactly the same idea!
Keep it Light
Of course, it’s important to remember that this is the season for merriment, and your child certainly knows this! It’s a crucial part of your child’s relationship with dental health that they don’t view taking care of their teeth as an unpleasant chore, especially during the holiday season when there’s fun to be had everywhere.
Consider alternative ways of teaching your child how to take care of your teeth, like using games, arts and crafts, or songs to motivate them. If you need ideas, here’s how to get creative.
Never Be Afraid to Ask
While regular check-ups with your dentist are a vital component of making sure you’re taking good care of your child’s teeth, it’s worth not waiting and getting to a dental expert as soon as possible if you have any pressing concerns.
Keeping your child’s teeth safe and ensuring they know how to do care for themselves is something they will benefit from for their whole lives, so follow our top tips and book an appointment at Valley Ridge Dental Centre today.