With the holiday season here and Christmas just days away, your children are going to be tempted by a myriad of holiday treats. Candy, cake, pie, and cookies are all staples of this season. While the occasional sugary treat is okay, too much of a good thing can quickly lead to the onset of tooth decay. Fortunately there are alternative holiday treats for kids. These fun and healthy options can help your children avoid the onset of tooth decay.
Sugar and Tooth Decay
How does sugar hurt the teeth? Sugar and other starches can become trapped between teeth or coat the surface. Bacteria then break down these particles. The process of breaking them down increases oral acidity and also helps coat the teeth in a layer of plaque. Soon, the enamel can weaken and erode, leading to the onset of tooth decay. For adults and older teens, the process can also inflame the gums, increasing the risk of gingivitis and gum disease.
What are My Alternatives?
You actually have a few options that allow you to provide a treat while protecting the smile. First, urge your children to drink water. Soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks all contain high amounts and sugar and an acidic content, which weakens tooth enamel. Also, be aware that even some healthy snacks can contain a lot of sugar, like fruit juice or even raisins.
Fresh Fruit and Low Fat Yogurt
While fresh fruit contains sugar, they also have a high water content, which helps cleanse the particles from the teeth. You can provide apple slices, pears, and other fresh fruit along with a low-fat yogurt to dip in.
Fresh Vegetables and Dipping Options
Fresh vegetables can be a delicious treat and help remove plaque form the teeth, which freshens the breath and reduces the risk of tooth decay. You can also consider a dipping sauce to accompany them.
Nuts not only contain key nutrients, but some of these nutrients, like calcium and phosphorus, can help remineralize the teeth. This process strengthens the teeth’s natural defenses against decay.