Taking care of your teeth and gums should be a fast, effective and daily routine. Teach your kids healthy habits with these fun and useful gift ideas.

Shop local tip: Look for these and other smile-friendly stocking stuffers in your locally-owned neighborhood pharmacy. Besides filling prescriptions, many offer novel and unique health and wellness gifts.     

1. Water bottles

Water is your teeth’s (and body’s) drink of choice, rather than sugary drinks. Help your kiddos make the switch in style with a new water bottle. Encourage them to fill it with tap water, which typically contains fluoride, a mineral that protects teeth. If you want fancy, spring for a smart water bottle that tracks your water intake with a sensor and a smartphone app. It even glows when it’s time to drink up.  

 2. Toothbrushes

Get your kiddos excited about brushing with a new, fun toothbrush. You can choose a basic manual model or a state-of-the art electric toothbrush that buzzes when it’s time to move to a different area of the mouth. Other toothbrushes sing to you or feature a favorite cartoon character. No matter the choice, remind your children to brush twice a day and floss once a day to dislodge food particles and remove plaque.

 3. Toothbrush Cases

Keep your kid’s toothbrush sanitary during overnight stays by putting them into a portable toothbrush case or holder. Any plain design will do or opt for playful shapes like spaceships or birds to prevent contamination with bacteria or dirt.

 4. Flavored Floss or Flossers

Daily flossing removes food particles, keeps plaque at bay and reduces the risk of gum disease. Flavored floss makes the task all the more palatable. Mint and cinnamon are fairly common, but you can also find cardamom, cupcake frosting and—fitting for the season—pumpkin spice flavors

 5. Tooth Fairy Pillow

Besides Santa, is the Tooth Fairy going to stop at your house soon? If so, a tooth fairy pillow will make her feel more welcome and your youngster less apprehensive about pulling out that loose tooth. 

6. Minty Mouth Items

Your children will start appreciating the refreshing taste of a minty mouth with items like sugar-free gum (look for one that contains xylitol), lip balm or sugar-free mints. Some brands even release limited-edition flavors specifically for the holidays.

 7. Oranges

Why are oranges traditional stocking stuffers? According to legend, they symbolize the gold that St. Nicholas dropped down a poor man’s chimney where it landed in the stockings of the man’s three daughters and paid for their dowry. Oranges, like other citrus fruit, are excellent sources of vitamin C for healthy gums, but they are also high in enamel-damaging acid. Enjoy them regularly, but in moderation, and rinse your mouth afterwards with water.

8. Chocolate

If you want to include sweets in your children’s stockings, choose chocolate, rather than sticky caramels or hard candy. Chocolate dissolves quickly, which means it doesn’t stay on the teeth very long. It also contains healthy calcium and antioxidants. Teach your children to savor special treats like chocolate and rinse their mouths with water afterwards to get rid of cavity-causing bacteria. 

 9. Reusable Drinking Straws

Your kids can protect the environment and their teeth with reusable drinking straws. Straws act like tunnels that limit the contact between liquids and teeth. For that reason, they keep cavities out, guard against surface stains (good to know for future coffee-drinkers) and shield sensitive teeth. Pick eco-friendly versions like reusable, BPA-free straws made from acrylic, metal, glass or even recyclable paper.

10. Egg Cookers

This is for your older kids, i.e., college students who may need a little help balancing their diets. Show them how to create healthy meals in their dorm room with versatile egg cookers that can scramble, poach, boil and turn out omelets. Eggs are rich in phosphorus—a mineral that can strengthen enamel—plus other powerful nutrients. BTW, egg cookers are among the 2020 hottest Christmas gifts, so if you drop one in the stocking of your almost-grownup, you’ll stay on Santa’s nice list.

And now, you’re ready to fill those stockings with gifts that will not only bring smiles to your kids but good health to their teeth and gums.