Whether your child is learning from home or going to school again, they’ll be on break for the holidays soon, giving them more free-time to snack while they watch TV or play video games. You’d be surprised to learn just how many of the delicious snacks you get from the store could impact their oral health, especially since they’ll be consuming more of them over the next couple of weeks. Read on to learn about three popular holiday cavity-causing foods to substitute as your little one enjoys their time off from learning.
1. Children’s Juice Boxes & Flavored Drinks
Some children love flavored drinks, but unfortunately, many of the juice boxes that are marketed towards children contain boat loads of sugar that can increase the number of harmful bacteria in their mouth. Although these beverages may have packaging that makes them seem kid-friendly and healthy, that’s not always the case. That’s why it’s important to double-check the nutritional label on the back for sugar content.
2. Holiday Cookies
If you’re like most families who love to bond over holiday cookies, then you may have a small stash of them on your countertop that your child can pick on throughout the day. Unfortunately, many pre-packaged cookies are high in carbs and sugars, and if your child isn’t diligent about brushing, snacking on these frequently throughout the day could put them at a higher risk of developing decay.
3. Holiday Candy
Chewy caramels, Kinder Chocolate Eggs with prizes inside, Reese’s Christmas Trees, and countless other candies that you only see around the holidays can help get your family in the spirit, but unfortunately, they can also increase your household’s risk of developing cavities.
Smile-Friendly Snack Substitutions for Children
To avoid dental sensitivity and oral health problems during the holidays, it’s important to not only keep your child on top of brushing and flossing everyday, but also make healthier snacking options more readily available. Here are some delicious and healthy substitutions you can entice your child with while they’re on holiday break:
- Celery with peanut butter
- Sliced pears (with ricotta cheese)
- Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon
- Veggie pita pockets
- Fruit smoothie
- Banana oat cookies
- Turkey and avocado roll-ups
- Bakes sweet potato fries
- Vegetables and hummus
- Fresh fruits
- Peanut butter and banana “quesadillas”
With these yummy alternatives, your child should be able to appease their sweet tooth and appetite without putting their smile at-risk for cavities. A nutritious diet paired with a good at-home oral hygiene routine makes having a happy and stress-free holiday season is practically guaranteed!
About the Author
Dr. Jane Puskas graduated from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and was the recipient of an award from The American Society of Dentists for Children. She enjoys educating children about their oral health and helping them create good oral hygiene habits early on, so they can keep a cavity-free smile, even as adults. She welcomes patients of all ages and provides comprehensive dental care. For questions or to schedule a post-holiday checkup and cleaning for your family, visit her website or call 404-261-7488.