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Most children (and adults) will consume more sweets and chocolate over the festive period. It’s an exciting time for them – but as parents, we can still make efforts to ensure we protect their oral health.

A child who sucks on sweets and lollies for prolonged periods is more susceptible to tooth decay. The same applies to sipping sugary drinks over a long period of time.

The acid produced from the sugar and bacteria in the mouth will be present on the teeth for the entire time it takes to eat or drink the treat and for up to one hour after it has been swallowed. This acid causes tooth decay.

The ideal option is to let your children indulge in Christmas sweets and treats at mealtimes, instead of having them as a snack in between. This way the mouth has time to recover from the acid attack and return to normal.

Chocolate for breakfast?

If your child is having a chocolate or sugary Advent Calendar treat in the morning, ensure it is eaten with their regular healthy breakfast.

Brushing, for 2-minutes, before breakfast is better for tooth enamel and overall oral health. While we sleep, plaque-causing bacteria in your mouth multiplies. Brushing your teeth as soon as you wake up, instead of after breakfast, rids your teeth of plaque and bacteria. It also coats your enamel with a protective barrier against acid in your breakfast. Brushing your child’s teeth first thing also jump starts saliva production, which helps break down harmful bacteria in their mouth.

If your child chooses to brush after breakfast, please avoid for 30 minutes if they have consumed something acidic, such as orange juice.

Find more oral health tips in our resources section.