It’s always a challenge not to be naughty around the holidays. Especially with all the good food and treats circulating. During the 8 nights of Hanukkah, children and adults alike enjoy chocolate coins. Some people use an advent calendar full of chocolate to countdown to Christmas. That’s 24 or 25 pieces of candy. Even the tradition of Santa involves eating cookies! The sweets during December are simply traditional! So what are some ways to enjoy the holidays and the traditions that come along with them?

Well, these countdowns with candy must be replaced! Or at least severely cut down. Eliminating the mass amounts of sugar can still be exciting. For Hanukkah, instead of a sack of gold chocolate coins, each night you can try gifting a story or game. Have dinner, light a candle and present the gift/activity for the night. Reading a brand new book or playing a game altogether will certainly be more memorable than a moment on the lips of chocolate. It’s better to create memories than leave remnants of sugar coating your teeth. Nobody asked for a cavity for Hanukkah!

I’m sure Christmas-celebrating children didn’t ask for cavities either! Sounds like something the Grinch would deliver! But unlike him, we’re not trying to steal your Christmas. So as for the countdown to Christmas, how about watching a movie or Christmas episode every night starting December 1st leading up to the 25th? With things like Netflix and other streaming platforms, you’ll have plenty of access to all of your favorite holiday programs. The ABC Family channel even does 25 days of Christmas so all you need is cable! Make a new tradition this season by having dinner altogether, brushing and flossing after and rewarding yourselves with a Christmas classic! If you can’t resist the popcorn – definitely be sure to brush and floss again. Nothing is worse than stuck popcorn kernels!That is something to keep in mind if you are gifted one of those large tins of different kinds of popcorn!

Holiday parties will be difficult as well. The word Christmas is practically synonymous with cookies! And who can resist desserts at Christmas time? Be aware that even bringing sugar-free treats usually means the sugar is replaced with a sweet substitute. Sugar destroys the teeth’s enamel and causes bacteria to grow ultimately leading to a hole in the tooth, i.e. cavity. Hard candies absolutely expedite this process.

Which brings us to the Christmas staple, candy cane! Sucking on a candy cane all month long or even all day long on Christmas is very harmful to your teeth. If possible, avoid them. Opt for plums in the stockings instead and just call them sugar plums! Throw in a toothbrush for a nod to the tooth fairy! Make the stockings an ode to the whimsical sugar plum and tooth fairies. Okay, older kids might not fall for it but it’s worth a shot!

Remember, fruit still has natural sugar in it. No matter how healthy a fruit or vegetable is, flossing is still essential. If you choose to indulge this Christmas, remember to brush and floss vigorously and at least twice a day as per usual!