October can be one of the best months for a kid – it means candy! Although sweets are as big of a Halloween tradition as dressing up, it can be harmful for your child’s pearly whites. Here are 4 tips from your pediatric dentist in Poway to avoid cavities this spooky season.
1. Brush and Floss Away the Candy
Along with regular visits to your dentist for kids in Poway, brushing and flossing are the best ways to keep nasty cavities at bay. Getting a new toothbrush usually makes children excited about brushing, at least for a little while. Try dropping a new toothbrush and container of floss in your son’s or daughter’s Halloween treat bucket before they head out for the night.
Halloween is a great time to teach your kids proper oral hygiene. Make sure they know to hold their toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline and use only gentle pressure when brushing. Teach them how to floss between their teeth as well. If they’re still pretty young, you may have to do it for them, or at least supervise.
2. Don’t Let Them Snack
No matter how often kids eat candy, it’s bad for their pearly whites. However, snacking is just about the worst thing they can do for their teeth. The longer that sugar is exposed to the teeth, the more time that bacteria in the mouth has to create cavities. If you’re going to let your little one eat candy, try to stick to mealtimes or shortly after, and don’t let them snack throughout the day.
3. Have a Plan Beforehand
The best way to prevent dental damage is to prepare ahead of time. Have a conversation with your child about what you’re going to do once their bag is full of candy. Maybe set a limit on how many houses you’re going to visit, or try only letting them fill up a small bag. Whatever you decide to do, be sure to talk to your children about it beforehand. It may help to have that talk a few times, especially for younger children.
4. Set Up an Alternative Reward System
A great way to let your child enjoy the fun of trick-or-treating without the risk of tooth decay is a candy swap. Essentially, let your child switch out some candy for a non-candy treat, like a toy or a fun activity they’ve been wanting for a while. This way, they still get enjoyment out of the holiday without the damage to their oral health.
Halloween is almost here, but that doesn’t necessarily have to mean more cavities. Use this holiday as an opportunity to educate your child about dental health.
About the Author
Dr. Sam Tiep is a children’s dentist in Poway, CA. She is Board-Certified through the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, meaning that she has demonstrated her clinical expertise and commitment to continuing education through rigorous examinations. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. For more tips on how to keep your children cavity-free this Halloween, contact Dr. Tiep at (858) 943-0750.