Healthy Smiles at Halloween
It’s that time of year again! Halloween is spooking up fast, and as fun as the holiday is for kids, it can wreak havoc on parents trying to keep their kids’ teeth healthy and clean.
Teaching your children responsible teeth-cleaning habits for their later years is also a difficult task every October 31st, as Halloween often sends mixed messages to kids about appropriate consumption levels of food notorious for tooth decay.
Halloween means lots of candy and sugary treats, which can damage tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of teeth, and increase the risk of plaque and cavities. Many parents are rightfully concerned about children overindulging in candy as well.
Thankfully, Halloween is also a perfect opportunity to instruct children on good dental-hygiene habits and reinforce best practices to maintain a clean and healthy smile—without ruining all of the fun for the kids!
Here are five tips to help keep your kids’ teeth healthy for Halloween in Abbotsford.
1. Avoid Sticky Foods
Most sticky candies, such as taffy, gummies and caramel-based treats, including toffee, do the most damage to your children’s teeth, because they are prone to sticking in hard-to-clean spots in the mouth, both in between teeth and in pits and grooves along teeth surfaces.
As a result, they are huge culprits for cavities, and should be avoided as much as possible. Plus the longer the candy remains stuck in the mouth, the higher the risk for cavities.
If this kind of candy is your children’s favourite and you don’t want to cause a scene by confiscating all of it, encourage the kids to eat the sticky candy in moderation and ask them to brush their teeth right afterwards. Compromising this way also helps to encourage the children’s participation in other Halloween rules for healthy smiles you’ll want to implement.
2. Brush Every Night After Eating Candy
The basics of proper teeth cleaning still apply of course. Brushing twice a day is highly recommended to help keep your kids’ teeth clean and healthy, but it is especially important around Halloween. Sugars from Halloween candy can remain in the mouth overnight, so brushing before bedtime becomes essential this time of year.
If your children indulge in a high proportion of sour candy, however, try to encourage them to not have any before bedtime brushing. Sour candies are more acidic than other types of candy, and brushing teeth right after eating sour candy can have the adverse effect of spreading the acid around teeth surfaces.
3. Be a Good Neighbourhood Parent on Halloween
When other children visit your Abbotsford home on Halloween during trick-or-treating, try to do your part and help make other parents’ jobs easier. Pass out low-sugar chocolate (most chocolate is easier to clean than sticky candy!), non-sugar treats and chewing gum.
Gum also stimulates the production of saliva in the mouth, which in turn helps to naturally clean teeth. Plus, the more you help out other parents on your block, the more you’ll encourage them to do their part too on Halloween!
4. Check Your Kids’ Treats
Ask your children not to eat any of their treats before getting home. Obviously inspect the candy to make sure there is nothing allergy-causing or dangerous, but also try to ensure there is a reasonable portion of healthier candies and get a good idea of how much sugar and sticky candies the kids have. This way, you can better gauge a strategy for moving forward on how much and when the kids can eat their candies while maintaining clean and healthy teeth.
5. Develop a Strategy With Your Children for Halloween Candy
Try to work out a system with your kids for how many candies they can consume in a day, the times of day that are appropriate for candy eating and for setting up candy as a reward for other good behaviour.
Portioning out the treats as surprises in school lunches and/or only encouraging candy after a large meal are great examples for moving forward. Plus, if you develop these plans with your kids, it will help them feel involved and better encourage the healthy-eating habits for their teeth.
Visit Your Abbotsford Dentists at Clayburn Dental for Our Popular Halloween Candy Buy Back
We are excited to announce our third-annual Halloween Candy Buy Back in Abbotsford, on November 1st and 2nd. For every pound of candy your child brings us, we will pay them $2 (up to a maximum of $20) and all of the candy will be donated to the Abbotsford Salvation Army.
The idea behind our event is to encourage Abbotsford children to eat candy in moderation, not to mention each year the kids get a kick out of earning a few bucks for donating their extra candy!
Also don’t forget to ensure your kids are scheduled for a check-up dental appointment after Halloween this year, so we can “treat” any problems that pesky Halloween candy might’ve caused.
Call us today at 604-852-8487 or request an appointment online today.