‘Tis the season and it’s good to be Santa Claus. A new nationwide poll, out today, finds Santa ahead in the polls with a key constituency, 6-12 year olds, and barely outpacing the Tooth Fairy.
The poll, by Delta Dental Plans Association, shows children’s belief in Santa is outpacing that in other magical characters known to make home visits. According to parents:
When it comes to what Santa brings down the chimney, moms and dads can agree with dentists that toys are preferable to treats. Rather than ban all goodies, Delta Dental encourages moderation, especially when it comes to these common sweets:
- Candy Canes: make it a small, one-time treat (not a daily one), and be sure to rinse and brush afterward.
- Cookies: skipping them entirely is difficult. Instead, store them away and indulge only occasionally.
- Holiday drinks: eggnog, apple cider and hot chocolate are comforting, but can pack a sugary wallop—20 grams of sugar for eggnog and more than 65 grams for a fully-loaded cider with caramel sauce and whipped cream. Stick to a small serving.
- Caramels: caramel is the flavor of the moment, but the chewy, sticky treats are especially damaging due to their high sugar content and amount of time they stay stuck to teeth. The same goes for gumdrops and candied fruits in fruitcakes.
“No one wants to be the Grinch about enjoying all the special experiences of the holidays, particularly the tasty treats that are usually around,” said Dr. Bill Kohn, DDS, Delta Dental Plans Association’s vice president for dental science and policy. “Try to enjoy in moderation, and if you find yourself or your children overindulging, perhaps spend some extra time flossing and brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.”
Try these four tips for keeping holiday indulgences more tooth friendly:
- Enjoy goodies as part of, or immediately following, a meal, rather than snacking throughout the day.
- Stick to one small serving of a favorite drink or snack.
- Follow up indulgences by swishing around some water or chewing sugar-free gum.
- Brush with a fluoride toothpaste as soon as possible to wash away the sticky sugar residue.
About the survey: The survey was conducted by Kelton Global between Dec. 2, 2014 and Jan. 2, 2015, among 1,325 parents of children ages 12 and under. The margin of error is ±2.7 percent.