Of course it’s every child’s dream to collect lots of candy on Halloween night. But what is a child’s dream can be a parent’s spooky nightmare. But your dentist Columbia Dr. Gregory Wych advises that Halloween can be an opportune time to teach your children good oral health habits that they can keep for life, without depriving them of Halloween treats.
Denying your children the Halloween experience can send the entirely wrong message and make candy seem even more irresistible. Then once they’re out on their own, they’ll end up sneaking sweets or eating too much candy.
Your dentist Columbia suggests that after your children return from trick-or-treating, you go through their bags of Halloween candy together. Tell them to each pick the 10 or so treats they want the most.
Letting children help decide what is a reasonable amount of candy to keep has benefits beyond good oral health. The message isn't "candy is bad," but that candy and other sweets, in excess, can lead to cavities. According to your dentist Columbia, children need to learn how to control their diets and also learn that what they eat affects their oral health, not just their physical health.
With your child, set a time of day to eat Halloween candy. This “treat time” may last long after Halloween and help promote healthier thinking about treats. Your children will learn that eating sweets shouldn’t be an all-day event and that moderation is key.
No matter what time you designate as treat time, it's crucial for your child to brush his or her teeth soon after. If it is nighttime, for example, brushing and flossing teeth before bed will help sweep away the recent sweets. Fluoride mouth rinses for kids also help prevent tooth decay, according to your dentist Columbia.
Until a child is 7 or 8 years old, a parent should help them with brushing his child’s teeth, not simply supervise. Even after age 8, parents should supervise their brushing process. That includes friendly reminders to older children to brush and floss until they get to high school, when it should be a habit.
Is it time for your child’s next dental check-up? If it is, don’t wait – call the office of dentist Columbia Dr. Gregory Wych today to schedule an appointment!