ODA urges parents to give the gift of oral health

The Ontario Dental Association offers up oral health gift ideas for children

TORONTO, Dec. 11, 2013 /CNW/ - With the 2013 holiday season well underway, many parents are looking for the perfect gift or stocking stuffer. Given the impact oral health issues like tooth decay, also known as dental caries, can have on a child's health, an oral health-related present is the perfect gift.

"Children learn more from what we do than from what we say — as parents, one of the greatest gifts we can give is to help them understand the importance of good oral health habits," says Dr. Rick Caldwell, President of the Ontario Dental Association (ODA). "Incorporating the gift of oral health into your holiday celebrations sets a positive example in their early years and will help lead to a lifetime of good oral health."

There are several oral health gift ideas to consider, including:

  • New toothbrushes with soft bristles - particularly fun for young children since there are so many themed brushes to choose from.
  • An electric toothbrush - remember to look for one designed for kids.
  • Sugar-free gum with xylitol - lots of flavours to choose from for that gift pack.
  • Dental floss- there is a wide variety of options made just for kids.
  • And to help keep them busy during the holiday break -- there is a selection of materials on the ODA's Kids' Zone online at youroralhealth.ca that can be printed off to create a fun holiday activity gift pack - aimed at helping children understand the importance of good oral health habits.

It is also important to keep in mind that some of the traditional holiday treats can do more harm than good - despite how delicious they may be.

Try to offer the following in moderation - or not at all if possible:

  • Chewy candies or dried fruit - these tend to be high in sugar and can stick to teeth for hours.
  • Harder candies - they may dissolve faster than chewy candies, but they can also lead to chipped or cracked teeth.
  • Hard nuts - can also lead to chips or cracks.
  • Soda and juices - these can also be acidic and high in sugar.

"Tooth decay can be very difficult and painful for some children - yet it is often avoidable if children adopt good preventive oral hygiene habits early and stick with them," says Dr. Caldwell. "Regular dental exams play an important role in helping parents highlight for their kids the importance of good oral health and catching any potential dental issues early."

SOURCE: Ontario Dental Association

For further information:

Courtney Sorger
Public Affairs & Communications

Bonnie Dean
Public Affairs & Communications
416-922-3900 x3314

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