A child’s Halloween dream – lots and lots of candy – can be their parents’ worst nightmare. But dentist Columbia Dr. Gregory Wych suggests that Halloween can actually be a time to teach your children good oral health habits for life, without depriving them of Halloween treats. Here are some of our tricks for using treats to your advantage.
Don’t Make Your Children Choose Between Candy and Cavities
Don’t deny your children the Halloween experience because that can make candy seem even more irresistible to them. Instead, let them experience the joy of Halloween in all its sticky goodness by going to a party or trick-or-treating.
After your children return home from trick-or-treating or a party, go through their bags of Halloween treats together. Tell them to each pick the 10 or so (whatever number you decide, based on factors such as age) treats that they want the most.
Remove the unpicked treats from their sight. Help others by donating them to a food bank or put them in the freezer if you can’t stand to throw them out.
Establish a Treat Time
Your dentist Columbia also suggests establishing a time of day to eat Halloween candy. This “treat time” routine may extend long after Halloween and help promote healthy thinking habits about treats. Your children will learn that eating sweets shouldn’t be an all-day celebration and that moderation is key.
Set Up a Brushing Schedule
It’s crucial to brush soon after treat time. If it is nighttime, for example, brushing and flossing teeth before bed will help get rid of the recent sweets. According to the ADA and your dentist Columbia, fluoride mouth rinses for children can also help to prevent tooth decay.
Make the Teeth-Brushing Experience Fun
Make Halloween a special occasion for getting your child a new brush. Dentists say that when children like their toothbrush, they will enjoy the brushing experience much more. Let them choose from a variety of kid-sized brushes that feature cartoon characters and colorful designs. Young children usually get excited and can’t wait to use a new toothbrush. Children also like to pick out their own toothpaste.
Try Disclosing Methods
Parents can use disclosing tablets, solution, or swabs to show their children how well they are brushing or flossing their teeth. Make it a contest and schedule a disclosing session once a week or so, to show your children their progress (or lack of).