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According to a CNBC report, more than $800 million goes towards dental emergencies—and that’s just during Halloween! Whether it’s the holiday season or an average day, what can a parent do to ensure that their kids aren’t breaking any teeth or sabotaging their dental health for years to come? Here are seven strategies that you can use at home.
Holiday breaks, summer breaks, and learning from home during COVID-19 lockdowns can mean a lot of downtime, sleeping in, and late nights for school-aged kids. This can throw off your child’s routine, which means they might not be brushing and flossing as much as they normally do. They might also be eating at different times, eating when they’re bored, and eating less-than-nutritious treats. Aim to keep their routine as close to normal as possible by scheduling mealtimes, snack times, and checking that they keep up with brushing twice a day.
To avoid cavities, a dental emergency, expensive dental work, or dental xrays, limit the types and amounts of sweets your child has. If they wear braces, make sure they aren’t eating hard candies, caramels, nuts, or popcorn, which can wreak havoc on braces. Rather than putting out a bowl of sweets, let your child choose one or two and put the rest away.
It can be difficult for children to stop themselves from overindulging in snacks, so have plenty of healthy alternatives on hand. Stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, cheese and crackers, and low-sugar drinks. That way they’ll be filling up on the good stuff first.
Rather than relying on takeout, prepare at least one meal every day with your child. Meal prep teaches healthy eating, keeps your kids busy, and gives you an extra hand in the kitchen.
Encourage your child to drink ample water. Drinking water will keep them hydrated and will keep them from overeating. It also rinses away food residue and is a great alternative to cavity-causing sugary drinks.
Breaks from school can sometimes leave kids with nothing to do. If they’re bored, they’ll be more likely to eat sweets and less likely to get exercise. Stave off boredom by scheduling exciting activities for them to do.
If your child hasn’t seen a pediatric dentist, now’s the time to schedule their first appointment. Depending on your child’s age, they may need dental xrays, an exam, and a cleaning. Dental xrays are performed less frequently on children and generally only if there’s a problem. However, your child should have a pediatric dentistry exam and cleaning every six months.
By following these seven strategies throughout the year, you can better ensure that your family will have a happy and healthy 2021.