School is starting back up this week, and that means parents all across the Kansas…
If you’re a kid, Halloween is one of the best holidays of the year. If you’re a parent, on the other hand, it can be terrifying. That’s not because of all the ghosts and ghouls: When your kids go out trick-or-treating, they return home with a pile of sugary Halloween candy. As your Overland Park family dentist, we know that the goal of every concerned parent during “candy season” is to minimize the amount of sugar that kids consume so as to protect their teeth. The key is to do so without denying them the fun of the Halloween experience. That’s where these five “tricks” will come in handy!
Buy New Dental Care Supplies. Think of this as your “candy season” pre-game. You should already be replacing your toothbrush or brush head every three or four months, which makes October a great time to replace all your dental care accessories. Plus, letting the kids pick out their own fun new toothbrush might help them stick to a regular brushing schedule more easily.
Exchange the Worst of the Batch. Not all candy is created equal, especially when it comes to your child’s dental health. Sticky candies like taffy or gummies, hard candies and jawbreakers that kids hold in their mouths for a long time, and sour candies are all especially damaging to teeth for various reasons, either because they hang around in the mouth or because they are highly acidic, leading to quicker breakdown of tooth enamel. Try exchanging these candies for something else that your kids want, while letting them enjoy less harmful candies like chocolates.
Stick to a Healthy Diet. Once Halloween is over, your job isn’t done. In the weeks that follow, reduce the number of sweet snacks that you’d normally allow for your kids. They probably got enough of that stuff on Halloween night, and they’ll have leftover candy to tide them over for a while. Encourage them to drink water instead of sugary beverages like soda, energy drinks, or even fruit juice. It’s also a good idea to fill your kids up on a healthy dinner before they go trick-or-treating, so they’re less likely to snack en route.
Time Their Treats Carefully. Letting your kids experience the fun of (at least some of) all that Halloween candy is important, but so is knowing when to let them indulge. The best time to eat any sugary food – including Halloween candy – is at mealtime. Eating a healthy meal helps promote the production of saliva, which is your mouth’s first line of defense against the acids that can damage your teeth. Hence, having a sugary snack after a meal helps to limit the amount of damage that the sugar can do.
Brush and Floss, Brush and Floss. The most important thing that you, as a parent, can do for your child’s dental health this Halloween (and all year long) is to make sure that they stick to their regular dental care routine, brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing every night before bed.
While you’re at it, be sure that they make regular visits to see your Overland Park family dentist. To schedule an appointment or simply chat with a member of our friendly staff, just call (913) 338-3384 anytime!