During the holiday season there is so much fun and activity all around. From baking and parties, to decorating and gift giving, children get caught up in the excitement of the moment. So much so, that they may impulsively use their teeth to rip open ribbon on a gift or packaging on a new toy. Others may try to use their pearly whites to crack open a nut or twist off a cap on a bottle, while adults are busy preparing holiday meals. It is true that the enamel on the teeth is the hardest part of the human body, but teeth should never be used as tools under any circumstances. What could be worse than having holiday fun turn into an emergency dental situation?
Park View's Point of View
At Park View Pediatric Dentistry, we are concerned about our patients’ oral health at all times, which is why we are big on oral health education. In addition to learning how to prevent cavities, we offer safety tips on how to prevent accidents and tooth breakage. Throughout the years, we have found that accidents involving children’s teeth happen frequently around holiday times. Here are some helpful suggestions to keep your holidays safe and happy:
1. Present Opening
Opening gifts is usually an energy charged event, with lots of activity going on. It is wise to include a pair or two of child-friendly scissors on the scene and inform the family of where they are located. Remind children to never use their teeth for opening gifts or packaging, and offer assistance when needed. Also, why not make a conscious effort to slow down the process and enjoy each person’s present opening. Let the fun be more focused and last longer.
What says holiday time more than a large bowl of nuts in their shell? Eager children wanting to enjoy these healthy tidbits should be cautioned never to use their teeth to crack them open. Large bowls of nuts should include one or two nutcrackers. A fun, family activity could also involve teaching children how to use them. There are always interesting character type nutcrackers available on the market; both new or vintage (think Nutcracker’s Suite). These fun nutcrackers could become part of the family holiday ritual, making their appearance once a year.
3. Hard Candy
Although we do not recommend having hard candy around, we recognize that exceptions are often made at holidays, especially with people dropping by and bringing treats. Remind children to suck on candy canes, and not bite into them. You should also monitor their intake and have them brush their teeth or rinse their mouths afterwards, as you do at other times throughout the year.
4. Opening bottles and cartons
Again, always warn children about the dangers of using their teeth as a bottle cap twister or carton opener. Remind them of the effort you put out all year to care for their oral health, and tell them that their beautiful smiles need to last a lifetime!
Here’s to happy and safe holidays!
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