It’s October…that one month of the year that children hold dear to their hearts. Sure, there is Christmas. We all know there’s no competing with Santa. But this is the month that holds something special that even Santa can do – bring them Halloween. It’s the one day of the year that everyone can be anyone or anything they want to be. And above all that, there’s candy. Lots and lots of candy given freely by just saying those three magic words: trick or treat. No need to be good in order to dodge the coal in the stocking. In fact, the ‘trick’ in trick or treat almost praises naughty imp behavior if candy isn’t received. But as your children are scouring the neighborhood for larger haul than the year before, you will need to ask yourself – how can I monitor my child’s oral health during this sugar-infused time of the year?
Here are some oral hygiene tips to keep in mind as your little monsters return with their stash:
Limit the intake. Halloween has to be the coolest time of year for your child’s imagination. For one day, they have the freedom to munch on candy while “fighting crime” dressed as a superhero. Tiny humans live for this day. Depriving them of what some would call a major part of the holiday will not only make your child upset, but won’t make life in your place very peaceful for a minute. So instead of denying them the sweets, have them choose a set number of candies they want the most and let them have them. Whatever they don’t choose, throw it out or freeze it for later. Not only will you know that what they are eating is safe, but you can rest at ease that they aren’t sneaking it behind your back, unleashing the cavities while you aren’t looking.
In addition to the limitation of sweet treats, set up a time of day that your child will be able to eat that candy. Similar to snack time at school, having a time when your little one knows a snack is allowed teaches them that snacking isn’t an all-day event, making them less inclined to crave sweets all day.
Of course, the main defense against Halloween candy-driven cavities is good dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing before bed will prevent cavities from attacking while your little one sleeps. In case you aren’t sure if your child is brushing thoroughly enough, there are various disclosing products you can give your child to find out if their doing a good job brushing by coloring areas in their teeth that have plaque buildup. If they are fully against brushing, let them pick out their own dental stuff. Kids are often swayed by doing grown up things. The key is to make brushing less of a chore and more of a fun way to fight “cavity crime”. Not only will they continue to love Halloween, but they can be their teeth’s superhero all year ‘round!
For more information regarding cavity prevention during Halloween, contact Dr. Ted Haines, DDS in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com for additional information.
Dr. Ted Haines proudly accepts patients from Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.