Wouldn’t you like your children to avoid cavities, even though they plan on consuming as much candy as they can this Halloween? Trick-or-treating is a rite of passage for children, and even though you are concerned about their dental health, you are not about to deny them the excitement and pleasure of costumes, spooky decorations and the traditional walk through the neighborhood.
Even though kids are crazed for sugar, parents still have control over candy consumption, and it’s easier if you follow these six helpful strategies.
1. Filter Your Child’s Candy Supply
Once your children have returned home with their loot, look through their supply and take away the hard or sticky candy that has the potential to adhere to tooth enamel. To avoid cavities, stay away from sweets that get stuck in between teeth or on molars — the longer the sugar stays in the mouth, the higher the chance of bacterial plaque buildup.
2. Offer Candy Alternatives
Parents might find success with a “candy trade-in” offer to their children. Instead of eating sweets, they can trade them in for a sticker, a small toy or a privilege. This will reduce your children’s sugar intake and their total candy supply.
3. Revise Your Child’s Diet
Remove as many other sources of unhealthy sugar as possible in your home. Limit fruit juices and soda — instruct your children to drink only water. Add additional fruits and vegetables into their diets so they get extra vitamins and minerals.
4. Restrict Candy Consumption
There is nothing wrong with setting up rules about how much candy your kids can eat. Only allow your children to eat a few pieces of candy per day, and make sure they consume the sweets right after mealtimes and brush their teeth afterward. Eating candy in between meals is worse, because the sugar stays on teeth for hours.
5. Use Halloween as a Teaching Opportunity
Halloween does not have to be solely focused on candy. Parents can use this opportunity to have interesting discussions with their kids about sugar and its effect on teeth. Explain how sugar feeds plaque, which contributes to cavities.
Make sure your children know how important it is to enjoy their candy within reason. Remind them how often they must brush and floss, and supervise the process until they develop good oral health habits.
6. Schedule an Overdue Checkup
If your child has not visited the dentist lately, Halloween is a great time to schedule that overdue checkup. Children and adults should receive regular dental care at least once every six months. Check your child’s records and set up an appointment as soon as possible.
You do not have to monitor your child’s dental health alone. Trust Oak Hills Dentistry to offer additional information on how to avoid cavities by taking care of children’s teeth throughout their developing years.