It’s that time of the year again – time for little goblins and ghouls to take the streets in hunt of their favorite candy. Knowing that so many of our patients will be trick-or-treating with their children this year, we’d like to offer some helpful advice for parents looking to control the impact of Halloween candy on their children’s teeth and gums.
Can you keep your kids’ teeth healthy while still letting them have a good time and enjoy the bounty of a hard night’s trick-or-treating? Yes! We have three key tips for parents to balance the joy of a solid Halloween candy sugar rush with your kids’ long term oral health.
Be a good example!
When you’re taking the kids on a plane trip, the attendants tell you to put your oxygen masks on first before helping them. The same applies to your oral health habits. You need to make sure you’re modeling positive behaviors if you want your kids to keep those good habits. When you make a point of brushing and flossing after sharing some of their candy, you help your kids understand that banishing the teeth-haunting ghouls is important to everyone in the family.
Set aside specific ‘candy time’
Rather than saying they can only keep a small amount of their haul, or only have a certain amount per day, try having a scheduled time the stash can come out. Fifteen minutes after dinner for a candy free-for-all as dessert lets you make sure the kids (and parents) can brush and floss immediately after eating the sugary and sour treats. If the bowl is available for a piece here and there throughout the day, those soon-to-be-former pearly whites are bathed in sugars and acids for way too long.
Make Halloween time for a new fun toothbrush
Small children love getting new themed toothbrushes. You should be replacing them every few months anyway since kids often chew on the bristles and wear them down faster than adults. What better time to get a new toothbrush with whatever is ‘cool’ to your kids than on Halloween? They’ll be enthusiastic about using their fun new ninja / superhero / whatever toothbrush right at the same time they’re most exposed to sugary treats. Win-win!
Following these suggestions will help you minimize the damaging impact of Halloween candy this year – while still allowing your child to have fun and reap the benefits of a night of candy-gathering. Focus on teaching your children responsible candy consumption this year and help your children make wise decisions about the amount of candy they eat – doing so will lay a foundation for a lifetime of good oral health!