There is one thing parents can count on each Halloween and that is that their children will receive an abundance of sweets to indulge in. According to Nielson research, about $1.9 billion dollars a year is spent on Halloween candy. That’s a lot of candy being distributed to your children.
Figuring out how to keep your children’s smiles safe during the holiday doesn’t have to turn into a nightmare, though. There are some simple things you can do to keep those pearly whites healthy while still allowing your child the enjoyment of a treat or two.
Real Food First
Insisting that kids eat some nutritious food before indulging in sweets accomplishes two things:
· Children will feel fuller and will eat less candy.
· Chewing stimulates saliva. This puts enzymes and minerals in the child’s mouth and help protect the teeth by creating a healthy environment before the candy passes his lips.
Brush Away Cavities
The longer candy sticks to teeth, the higher the chance of cavities developing. A few simple actions can reduce the number of dental treatments the child needs later. When children eat sticky candies, such as caramels and taffies, insist on the child brushing his teeth immediately after.
The child should brush the teeth for at least two minutes. If a toothbrush is not available, encourage the child to swish water in his mouth and spit it out a few times. This will help remove most of the sticky residue from the pits and grooves of the teeth.
One exception to this rule is candy that is acidic, such as sour candies. When a child indulges in sour candies, wait 30 minutes after to brush. The acid in the sour candies is spread to more of the tooth’s surface if you brush immediately after consuming the candy.
Develop Healthy Habits Before Halloween
One of the best things parents can do to protect their children’s smiles on Halloween is to develop healthy habits before the holiday. In addition to regular dental cleanings, teach your child to brush correctly. Set a timer for two minutes and instruct your child to brush all surfaces of the teeth (front, back and top of each tooth). Also, teach your child to brush immediately after consuming food unless it is acidic. Putting healthy habits into place ahead of time will take away Halloween’s power to create cavities and keep your child’s smile healthy.
If you have any concerns about the impact of candy on your child’s teeth, our team is here to help alleviate those concerns and discuss options for cavity prevention. We’ll come up with a treatment plan that will keep teeth health from childhood through adulthood.