Among all of the holidays, Halloween ranks as the top one that poses a great risk in dental health challenges in children. Because the holiday pretty much centers on collecting sweets, it can be extremely hard for kids to hold back on eating candies. According to ADA dentist Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty, “It’s okay to eat that candy on Halloween but it’s important to have a plan.”
Here are seven simple ways to ensure your children still get the dental protection they need even on Halloween:
1. Make a plan.
Without a concrete plan, your Halloween celebration is more likely to be all over the place. Weeks before the day itself, schedule a family meeting and talk about your plans for the holiday. This can include preparations, coordination and of course, candy distribution. Making sure that your kids know what to expect early on will help eliminate problems during Halloween.
2. Brush and floss regularly.
Instilling a healthy brushing habit into your kids’ daily care routine will provide a strong foundation that should help throughout their childhood. Ideally, you should brush twice a day for around two minutes using an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste or special toothpaste for kids with sensitive teeth. Additionally, toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months to ensure they function optimally. Flossing should be done once a day to remove plaque and sticky candy particles that get stuck in between teeth.
3. Pick candies carefully.
This maybe the hardest challenge of all – limiting your child’s Halloween candy intake. However, this should be an essential part of your plan. Go through your kid’s pile of candies and eliminate those that can be more damaging on teeth. This includes hard candies like jawbreakers and sticky sweets like taffy. Candies that are hard to break down will spend more time on your kid’s mouth, making them more vulnerable to get tooth decay.
4. Schedule when to eat candy.
Eating moderate amount of candies after mealtime is better than snacking on candies throughout the day. This is because saliva production has a significant boost during mealtime. Having active saliva will help break down bacteria and food particles in your mouth, so candies and sweets are better digested. Dentists also recommend chewing sugarless gum for about 20 minutes after meals. Chewing gum will increase saliva production and also help in neutralizing the acid of the bacteria in the mouth.
5. Control candy distribution.
If you want to have complete control over what kind of candies or how much Halloween treats your child eats, it is much better to manage the candy stash yourself. This may require some serious negotiation with your kids, especially if they’ve been used to keeping the candies themselves. Be authoritative but make sure to explain your reason for taking their treats. With this method, you will have better control of what to give your kids and also when they can eat the treats.
While Halloween can be a pretty challenging time for parents, it is not impossible to keep your children’s teeth healthy during this holiday. Just follow the simple guidelines for a healthier Halloween. Don’t forget to visit your dentist to do a quick check up or cleaning on your children’s teeth after Halloween is over.