While getting lots of candy may be the scariest part of Halloween for parents, it’s the perfect time to teach your children healthy eating habits and tips for preventing cavities. Here are some tricks that will help you and your child enjoy the Halloween experience and learn more about good oral health care.
- Offer healthy alternatives to children that visit your house. Sugar-free gum is a smart choice to drop in Halloween bags. It helps fight bacteria and acids, and the chewing motion increases saliva production which helps clean teeth.
- When your child returns from trick-or-treating, go through their bag with them and pick out their favorite treats. Have them choose their top 10, and then donate the leftovers. This gets the unfavorable candy out of sight and allows your child to make the choice about their sweet treats.
- Try to limit or avoid the number of hard candy treats, or other sweets that stay in the mouth over a period of time. Unless these candies are sugar-free, the risk of subjecting teeth to decay is much greater. If your child has fillings or braces, you will also want to make sure to eliminate chewy candies like taffy and caramel.
- Sit down with your child and set a “treat time” when they can enjoy Halloween candy. Including your child in the process gives them a sense of ownership, while also teaching them that treats should be eaten in moderation.
- Make sure your child is pairing their sweets with plenty of water, rather than a sugary beverage. Drinking water will help wash away the treat particles and is proven to help prevent tooth decay and cavities.
- Plan a teeth brushing schedule after “treat time.” More likely than not, you and your child will have sweet treats during the day, off your regular schedule of brushing in the morning and at night. It’s important to brush after to rid the mouth of the tooth decay causing sweets.
- Make teeth brushing fun by buying your child a new tooth brush for Halloween. Also, allow your child to pick out their own tooth paste. Research shows children who like their tooth brush and tooth paste find the brushing process fun. If you join them, it adds another level of entertainment as they are doing something with you.
- Don’t forget to floss and rinse with your brushing routine. Brushing only gets the surface, while flossing cleans between the teeth and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash eliminates germs from the rest of the mouth.
Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions about any of our tricks to Halloween treats. The Bonita Del Rey team wishes you a safe and Happy Halloween!