With Halloween rapidly approaching, your dental health may be the last thing that comes to mind about the holiday. Class parties, costumes, and house decorations seems to all take precedence over the health of your teeth this October 31st. Keep in mind that Halloween is one of the best times to teach your children good dental health habits.
1. Brush your teeth! This is an easy place to start. Brushing your teeth is something you (hopefully) do at least twice a day. Taking the time to properly brush your teeth is even more important this time of year with all that extra sugar clinging to your chompers! Children, who tend to have more sensitive teeth, would even be encouraged to add in an extra brushing cycle to bring the total to three times a day.
2. Give healthy treats. Setting a good example for your children starts with what you give out to other children. It’s not always essential to be “that house” that gives out full-size candy bars. Gum is always a favorite amongst children, and you can make an easy substitution by giving out sugar free gum. Don’t forget pretzels, cereal bars, or granola bars all make better options!
3. Rationing is key. Don’t let your children stuff themselves on candy every night for the next month. It’s recommended to only make available a small portion of the candy each day and once those treats are consumed, the children have to wait until the next day for more.
4. Timing is everything. Research has shown that the best time to eat sweet treats is at the end of a meal because that is when there is the most saliva in the mouth. That saliva helps break down and wash away the sugars. Additionally, drinking a glass of water after having a sugary treat can obtain the same result.
5. Fluoride is your friend. Fluoride has proven to dramatically reduce the damage caused by tooth decay when enjoying those sugary treats. The key is to find a fluoridated toothpaste and brushing like normal. Up the ante and rinse with fluoridated mouth wash for added protection.
Practicing good oral hygiene is important all year around, but especially around Halloween when there is so much temptation and sweets are readily available. Have a fun and safe Halloween!