It’s almost time for that sickly sweet holiday again! You guessed it, Halloween is just around the corner! Halloween can be one of the scariest holidays out there, that is, for your teeth. With all of those bags of candy sitting in your pantry, Halloween should be known as “National Day of Cavities”.
However, Halloween can be a great time to teach kids about the importance of keeping teeth healthy and making healthier choices. Here we have listed some fun and easy ways that you can prevent cavities for kids.
Even an exciting holiday like Halloween can be a great learning opportunity for your young ones. Knowing how to prevent cavities might not be as thrilling as eating mouthfuls of candy, but later on your child will be grateful not to have to suffer from cavities. You can get ahead with these healthy oral habits, and your children will also learn to enjoy their sweet treats in a responsible way.
Get the Timing Right
It’s always best to eat Halloween candy (or other sugary foods) with meals or right after meals. The saliva production increases while you eat meals, and this can help break down and cancel out the acids produced by the bacteria found in your mouth, and help to rinse away any leftover food particles.
Brush That Sweet Tooth
Candy and good dental hygiene don’t go hand in hand, but having your children brush their teeth with toothpaste is vital in the prevention of tooth decay, so this is an important habit for them to get into for life. You can try getting your kid excited to brush their teeth by dropping a new toothbrush into their Halloween treat bucket, with some floss as well. You can make brushing and caring for their teeth feel like a fun activity rather than another boring chore.
Be sure that your children are brushing and flossing their teeth after they enjoy some Halloween goodies. Keep in mind that candy can get easily stuck between teeth. This can be a great time to be reminded about proper brushing techniques so you can teach your children how they should move the brush against their teeth and gums.
Choose Your Candy Wisely
Try to avoid letting your children consume hard candy and other types of sweets that stay in the mouth for a long time. Besides how often you snack, the length of time that sugary sweets are in your mouth also plays a role in tooth decay. Unless they are sugar free, candies that stay in the mouth for a long while will subject teeth to a greater chance of tooth decay.
Try to also stay away from sticky candies that can cling to the teeth easily. The sticker the candies are, such as taffy and gummy bears, the more time they will take to get washed away by saliva, which will also increase risk for tooth decay.
Plan Ahead Before the Fun Begins
Before your children begin with the Halloween fun, make some plans with them before they fill up their trick-or-treat bins. This can give your children the chance to choose. For example, you can give them a choice between keeping the candy to enjoy slowly, or trading it in for a sugar-free reward, such as a toy that they have been wanting.
You can also give your child a smaller trick-or-treat bag to fill, while limiting the number of houses that you go to while trick-or-treating. If they end up getting less candy to begin with, they can enjoy their treats responsibly without feeling left out.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to make rules before the Halloween excitement has a chance to take over. You might need to remind younger children of the rules as you go, so be ready to repeat them.
Drink Plenty of Water
If your kids are snacking on candy, make sure that they have some water to drink to wash it all down. Drinking fluoridated water will help to prevent tooth decay. If you choose to give your children bottled water, then look for the ones that are fluoridated.
Stay in Control of How Much Candy is Being Eaten
While you can have fun during the trick-or-treating, you don’t have to give them free access to fill their bellies with candy. Try and have them choose to swap their candy out for a fun activity or new toy.
This sort of swap has the benefit of your child experiencing the feelings of earning a reward by using the candy as currency. You don’t have to do this all at once; you can let them eat their candy, but stretch it over a longer period of time. For example, they can pick one piece of candy per day, while you present alternatives like trading the candy in for something else.
It might take some planning, but these tips can help make your Halloween less scary as a parent who cares about their children’s oral hygiene. Think about this as a teaching moment and as a bonding experience that can be even more meaningful than trick-or-treating. Remember, you will be setting your kid up for a future of healthier choices.