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Six Smile-Friendly Stocking Stuffers

‘Tis the Season for Mouth Healthy Gifts!
Stockings are the perfect opportunity to sneak in that practical gift for a child or teenager and even impress your partner or friend with something thoughtful that lasts long after the Christmas tree comes down. Besides, what better way to feel great about stuffing candy canes and chocolate into a stocking than to pair them with something healthy for your teeth?
Include some of these items to see their faces and smiles! light up on Christmas morning:
Xylitol-infused Chewing Gum: Sure, everyone loves some good peanut brittle around the holidays. But there is a sweet treat that can also improve children’s oral health. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal stimulates saliva to buffer the acid and helps dislodge food particles from the mouth. Gum containing the natural sweetener, Xylitol, is a particularly good option since studies have shown that consistent exposure to Xylitol can help prevent tooth decay.
Flavored Toothpaste: Children can tire of brushing with mint or bubblegum-flavored toothpastes. Fortunately, those aren’t the only toothpaste options on the market. Uniquely-flavored toothpaste varieties like bacon, chocolate, cupcake, ice cream, pork – even pickle – can provide a change of pace and get kids excited again about the prospect of brushing their teeth. Always make sure the toothpaste contains fluoride to fight tooth decay.
Flavored Floss and Mouthwash: No oral hygiene routine is complete without flossing after brushing. At least toothpaste usually tastes like mint or bubblegum. Floss is normally pretty plain, but it doesn’t have to be. Like toothpaste, there are many flavors to choose from like banana and cinnamon-flavored options for kids to enjoy. Though sometimes forgotten, both floss and mouthwash provide important services to improve oral health. Since brushing doesn’t get all the food particles, plaque and germs, oral care should be a three-step process.
If your family doesn’t love flossing or mouthwash, try swapping out products for easier-to-use items instead: floss picks instead of regular string floss, or sweeter-tasting mouthwash if your kids hate mint. That way, their stocking stuffers get your kids excited about oral health.
Toothbrush: The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests getting a new toothbrush every three or four months, but that’s not always the case if you leave it up to your kids. By popping a new toothbrush into their stockings, you’ve got the perfect way to reset the toothbrush timer, so you can remember when it’s time for a replacement come March or April.
Focus on getting the right toothbrush for the right family member for the best results: Soft bristles for your toddler, favorite characters for school-aged kids and fun designs for picky teens should do the trick. There are even “smart” toothbrushes that light up or play tunes to let kids know how long they need to brush.
Colgate Wisps have been on the market for a while now, but they can still be a great surprise to see in a Christmas stocking. Think of these as tiny disposable toothbrushes that you can bring to work, school, or even a night on the town. You may very well end up picking out a pack for yourself too!
Fun Toothbrush Holder: Another way to get children brushing is by stuffing the stocking with fun oral health gifts like robot, tree or animal-shaped toothbrush holders that stick to walls. Kids like the characters and the holder provides a valuable and sanitary storage spot for their toothbrushes and toothpaste. There, the kids can place their toothbrush with a princess, race car or superhero-shaped handle.
Sports Mouthguard: A recent study of America’s children’s oral health by Delta Dental found that 70 percent of kids do not wear a mouthguard during soccer, basketball or baseball/softball practices or games. Mouthguards should be worn during practices and games by kids playing contact sports to reduce the risk of injury to the mouth, teeth and gums. The quality of the mouthguard should be the primary concern, but there are plenty of fun colors and designs available to coordinate with a favorite team or uniform of any color.
Sure, the holidays are all about family, food and festivities but don’t make the mistake of letting your family ignore their oral health at Christmastime. By gifting them with dental-conscious stocking stuffers, you can ensure a new year of healthy smiles to come.
Sources: Delta Dental, Colgate

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