Halloween is one of–if not the–most exciting times of the year for kids. They can be anything they want, spend time with family and friends, and indulge in various sweet treats.
As a parent, you might have a hard time figuring out a happy medium between candy and oral health on October 31. After all, you want your kids to enjoy their treats, but you want their teeth to stay healthy, too.
In this blog, we’ll provide all the tips you need on how to help your kids make the most of the holiday without sacrificing the best part (the candy).
Myth: There’s no way to have good oral health if you eat a lot of candy.
While candy can affect your kids’ oral health, a piece or two won’t hurt. Overdoing it without taking preventive dental care measures is what causes the most dental visits after Halloween.
The best way to keep up your dental health on one of the most fun holidays of the year is to take care of your teeth. That means taking a look at your dental care routine, diet, and water intake.
Halloween is a risky holiday for teeth, but there are some ways to keep your kids’ teeth safe. Here are our pediatric dentist’s best oral health tips:
The timing is key here. Rather than giving your child free access to their candy during the day, let them know that it’s okay to have a piece after they eat a meal or alongside dinner.
This is important because the mouth produces the most saliva when you’re enjoying breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a healthy snack. This can prevent acids from staying in your mouth, which creates a perfect environment for creating cavities (one of the most common oral health problems).
What would we do without the three musketeers of dental care: brushing, flossing, and rinsing with fluoride? For one, there’d be a lot more worrying about how to help your kids keep their teeth clean and still enjoy candy with their friends.
Oral health habits start at home, and parents are the best role models. Show your kids the proper way to brush, and make it fun. Let them know that it only takes two minutes in the morning and two minutes before bed to brush.
Save them time, and have them floss at one of those sessions. If they’re old enough to rinse with fluoride, guide them on how to use it.
Here are some recommendations for ADA-approved dental care products:
- Toothpaste: Burt’s Bees for Kids Fluoride Toothpaste, Crest Kids SparkleFun Cavity Protection, and Oraline Kids Bubble Gum Flavored Fluoride Toothpaste & Toothgel
- Floss: DenTek Kids Fun Flosser Floss Picks, Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Comfort Plus Floss, and REACH Floss (Waxed and Mint Waxed)
- Fluoride Rinse: Meijer Kids Bubble Gum Anticavity Fluoride Rinse, Publix Kids Anticavity Fluoride Rinse, and Tom’s of Maine Alcohol-Free/Natural Children’s Anticavity Fluoride Rinse
Research shows that, next to regular brushing and flossing, drinking plenty of water with fluoride is one of the top ways to achieve optimal oral health. Fluoride keeps the cavities away by strengthening the enamel of your teeth.
When your kids dive into their trick-or-treat bags and pick out the perfect Hershey’s bar or sour candy, there’s a chance the sugar will stay on the teeth. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugar. It creates acid, which affects the enamel.
Fortunately, water is there to help, allowing your little ones to still enjoy the holiday festivities. Water rinses away sugar particles, which protects mouth against acidity, which is the environment that bad bacteria thrives on. Water also stimulates saliva production, which protects your teeth against decay.
Cavities can make your teeth sensitive if you enjoy specific foods, such as candy. Instead of leaving the teeth susceptible to cavities, show your kiddos how to build up their defenses. One way to do that is making sure to enjoy plenty of healthy foods and drinks alongside the Halloween candy.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the best foods for your teeth include:
- Dairy: Yogurt, cheese, and milk
- Lean Protein: Chicken, turkey, salmon, and eggs
- Produce: Red lettuce, strawberries, oranges, and broccoli
- Nuts: Peanuts, almonds, and cashews
In general, we recommend scheduling two cleanings each year for children. At each appointment, the dentist will clean your child’s teeth, look for cavities, and recommend preventive measures to reverse any early signs of decay.
In addition to the twice-a-year schedule, be sure to book a dental appointment for your child if they mention the following after Halloween:
- “My tooth is extra sensitive.”
- “It hurts when I bite down.”
Don’t want your kids to miss out on the Halloween fun? Show them how to maintain their oral health and still enjoy a few pieces of candy with their friends. From drinking water to upholding a good dental care routine, there are many ways to keep your kids’ teeth healthy.Need a good pediatric dentist for your children? Tri-City Dental Care offers the best dental services for kids, including but not limited to cleanings, fillings, crowns, fluoride treatments, and sealants. Schedule with us today.