Lots of families’ travel during the holidays, this may be to see friends and relatives or simply to enjoy a break somewhere perhaps a bit warmer and sunnier.
If your family intends to travel in the near future, then it is worth taking steps to ensure your kid’s dental health routine isn’t interrupted too much while you are away so that everyone can still enjoy themselves without increasing the risk of tooth decay or gum disease.
Keeping Your Kid’s Teeth Healthy During the Holidays Photo Gallery
Make Sure Your Kid Is up to Date with Their Checkups
One of the first things to do when planning a trip away is to make sure your child is up-to-date with their checkups and cleanings. It’s bad enough if an adult has a dental emergency while away from home, but it can be even worse if your child is in pain and you need to find an emergency dentist who will be someone they don’t know and in an unfamiliar dental office.
Even if your kid’s teeth seem fine, if they haven’t seen their pediatric dentist for a while then it’s time for a visit. By taking them to visit the dentist, any dental problems that could flare up while you are away will be quickly detected and can be treated well before you go.
Don’t forget to book an appointment with the hygienist as well because regular professional dental cleanings is vital for keeping your kids teeth and gums healthy and strong.
Don’t Forget Their Toothbrush and Favorite Toothpaste
This might seem obvious but it’s so easy to forget to pack toothbrushes. While this might not seem so much of a problem, if your kid has a favorite toothbrush or toothpaste then it might be difficult to replace it quickly in unfamiliar surroundings. It also means that once you get to your destination then you’re immediately going to have to spend some time finding the nearest drugstore to purchase these items.
Buying them something new and unfamiliar is just another thing that can make it easier for them to break with a normal routine of brushing and flossing whilst away from home. Ideally, you want to make it as easy as possible for their normal routine to continue.
It is also important to make sure you don’t forget their floss, especially if they use a different brand of dental floss from the rest of the family. Being away from home is also a chance to experiment with new and interesting foods but you want to make sure they are thoroughly removed from your kid’s teeth before they go to sleep each night. Also, having impacted food in between teeth can be enough to cause a toothache.
Mouthguards, Braces, and Retainers All Need to Be Packed
If your kid is currently wearing braces or uses retainers then make sure you pack everything they need to keep them thoroughly clean while away from home. Include any necessary elastics and any special flossers or other tools they need to clean around brackets and wires. Older teenagers or younger kids wearing removable braces or other dental appliances may need to be reminded to pack them.
If your teenager wears anything like Invisalign removable braces, make sure they have the next set with them so they can continue treatment while you are away. Sports mouthguards for kids should also be packed to ensure their teeth and jaws are properly protected if they play any games while away.
Making Time for Teeth Cleaning
The holidays are a time when regular routines can easily go out of the window, with normal bedtimes disrupted as everyone enjoys the festivities. However, there should always be time to spare a few minutes for normal teeth cleaning, especially when a child has been eating festive foods that aren’t always great for teeth.
If your child still needs you to brush their teeth for them or requires supervision then ensure you make the time every morning and night and explain to them why it is so important to keep up a regular oral hygiene routine, even when you’re having fun. Older kids may need a gentle reminder just to make sure they don’t neglect their oral hygiene routine.
Coping with All the Festive Foods and Treats
This time of year can be hard on teeth, because of all the seasonal and festive foods and obviously, you don’t want to be a killjoy. With some careful management, it should be possible for your child to enjoy these foods without harming their teeth.
Try to steer them away from eating too many chips and cookies or else make sure they enjoy these treats as part of the main meal because this will help to reduce the harmful effects on their teeth, and the same goes for hard candies and other sweet treats.
The reason for doing this is because every time you eat something sugary or high in carbohydrates, it provides a valuable food source for bacteria in the mouth, allowing them to thrive and they produce acid as a by-product.
Higher acidity levels in the mouth increase the rate of acid erosion, softening tooth enamel so over time cavities are more likely to develop. By eating these foods as part of the main meal, you can at least reduce the damage as the mouth remains acidic for approximately half an hour to an hour after eating something like this.
Repeated snacking in between meals obviously increases acidity for longer, therefore, increases the risk. One thing you can do is to encourage them to choose fresh fruit and fresh veggies for snacks.
Yoghurt-based dips, guacamole, and hummus can help make these foods more appealing without being too sweet or sugary or rich in carbohydrates. Despite their healthy reputation, foods such as granola bars and dried fruit aren’t very good for teeth. They tend to be sticky and high in sugars and are best avoided.
When it comes to picking healthy drinks, try to steer your kid away from drinking too much fruit juice or soda and even diet soda is bad for teeth. In fact, it can be even worse for a child’s teeth than normal soda because the sugars are replaced with acidic additives to make the drink tastier.
Ideally, the best drink is water, especially if your child has been eating something less than ideal for their dental health. Plain water will help wash away excess bacteria, acid, and loose food particles.
With some advance planning, it should be possible for the entire family to enjoy the festivities without harming their dental health.
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